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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9/11 in the making, October 2, 2006
This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
'The Hamburg Cell' is an excellent film that follows the 9/11 hijackers in the years leading up to the attacks. The film is simple, yet extremely compelling. The acting is superb, and the characters are portrayed not as frothing at the mouth lunatics, but as the rather ordinary-albeit demented-young men that they were. The film succeeds in showing how one can go from a shy, secular, college student, to an angry, brainwashed, religious zealot. From the several books that I have read on the subject, the film seems to be very accurate. Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, this is the true story of the 9/11 hijackers and how they came to be the most infamous men of our generation. I highly recommend this film.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, October 1, 2006
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
Tries to show how the hijackers came to do what they did, but it's still hard to get your head around. Makes you sad and angry at the same time. In spite of the sensitive subject matter, it's a beautifully made movie. Definitely worth seeing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and sophisticated insight into 9/11 bombers' mindset, January 11, 2007
By 
Chris Hopton (Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
This docu-drama is a meticulously researched account of the recruitment and radicalization of the 9/11 bombers. It represents well the ambivalence some of them felt; it articulates eloquently the sense of alienation that many modern Muslims feel about the West and the double-standards that characterise US foreign policy in the Middle East; it presents fairly the debate within Islam about suicide vs. martyrdom.

It is unparalleled amongst programmes I have seen in explaining so coherently how these particular individuals came to justify to themselves the attacks that took place on September 11. A sobering and compelling account.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, April 1, 2013
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
I had seen this when it first came out, but I wanted a copy of my own. The acting is really good, making the movie just plain chilling. This is the story of 9/11 told from an interesting point of view, and done rather well. I would highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, October 29, 2012
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
I bought this for a friend at work and he said it was everything he thought it would be. Thanks Robert
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A male-only we-have-been-wronged but-we're-right gang, March 2, 2012
This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
What strikes a Western viewer in watching this well-made, well-paced film of the terrorists in Hamburg who plotted the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks: they're all men.

When you consider the Communist movements, the German terrorists of the Red Factor, both men and women conspired together, for their own ideological dreams of transforming society away from capitalism by killing industrial leaders.

The Red takeover of Russia and then the Soviet Republics were predominantly male,but not all.

The Chinese Revolution incorporated a lot of Chinese women, some of whom were the worst in enforcing rules as the Red Guards of the 1960's.

But in this particularly ideology, that the "West" must admit to their humiliating Islam for centuries and be punished, one sees that in fact it is a strong sense of male-bonding that is involved. "Islam" includes women, but they're very peripheral in this film even when one terrorist is married and visits his own mother back home in Lebanon.

I enjoyed seeing how these born-again fundamentalists Arabic males, priviledged and wealthy enough to go to Germany in the 1990's to study, see evil and corruption all around them, rather than glorying in the beauty and advanced living standards of the highly developed German towns and universities. If in fact it is the wealth and advanced educational, transport, health and city planning standards that these Arabs feel inferior to, it is ironic that they should so despise it at such a young age. Why not be curious, explore and enjoy it? Bring back new ideas and technologies to their own downtrodden peoples and nations?

Out of fear of change, perhaps out of fear of women and their own sexual impulses, these desperate fellows decide, step by step, that the destruction of the USA and its sidekick Israel is the main goal... not to emulate, but to bring down, what they envy.

We see the newly arrived Zaid, 21, handsome and fresh-faced off a plane from Lebanon, Islamic by tradition, secual in reality, Catholic in his education, arriving in Greifswald, Germany to live in a student dorm and learn German. They must do their own chores, learn to cook and so on, which from their economic level is a come-down. Zaid adjusts, enjoys all kinds of pleasures around him, and finds a girlfriend from Turkey quickly, a dental student. Soon they're living together, as young folks in GErmany usually do.

Why the focus on this fellow of all the 29 terrorists that were involved, is clear: he has family, love, a great future, an uncle in Greifswald to keep an eye on him, money and security, plus his whole life ahead of him. Why would he turn to such hate and anger? We see in the film how he is selected at a lunchtable, with the talk quickly turning to Islam, then an invitation to an Islamic study session.

He follows up, enjoys the male companionship and Arabic friendliness and language, perhaps out of homesickness or awkwardness in German society. He learns from them to reject "the West" and the culture he's come to learn from.

To my mind, his conversion is not completely convincing, and one sees from his facial blankness that he is not 100% enthusiastic, yet he's on a slippery slope, as those who attended Communist meetings often found themselves in the 1920's and 1930's.

I encourage others to see this British/Canadian/German production to judge for themselves about the characters and their motivations in turning so angrily against all that they yearned for in their own countries. Was it all sour grapes?

On a personal note, I lived in Germany myself in the early 1980's but did not have the money to be a student, so I simply learned German on my own by talking to people. I met poor Turks who did the same on park benches with elderly Germans, who greatly appreciated that they had moved to a better country and could learn so much. They were homesick, naturally, but they loved their opening horizons, and so did I.

Perhaps the biggest handicapp these "boys" had: they were already the priviledged in their home countries and were resentful of not just the West's wealthy, but the equality of women which had come with it. The lack of male bonding in German society (from which they were excluded anyway, say, a round of beer drinking) made them lonely and unhappy until they found each other. One emotion led to the next.

Too simplified? Maybe not.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They were just like us..., December 23, 2006
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
People often view the 9/11 hijackers as Islamic terrorists... and they are right. But what they most often don't do is think realistically about what terrorists are and what they must do, to protect their evil plans... be real people.

Those terrorists were not any more fanatical about what they believe, than many of the football fans I have seen about football or other sports. Business people can sometimes be equally fanatical, sacrificing everything in their quest to get ahead of others. Many marriages have been ruined, many families destroyed, many communities and even nations have been damaged because of how extreme those "normal" people are.

But the documentary also points out clearly one other fact: True believers of Islam, as depicted in the movie, and as practiced by al-Qaida, believe that real life can come only after death, only if that death removes sinners from the earth.

This movie is a must-see and a must-have, for anybody wanting to know about the facts of 9/11 and who want to share with others that information.

One other thing, I want to personally add about the subject: Islamic fundamentalists take a literal reading of the whole Quran as their truth. Only liberal Muslims who question the authority of the Quran can live that "religion of peace," so often passed off as correct Islam. Therefore, Islamic fundamentalists will all believe that Israel is to be destroyed and that all infidels must be either converted to Islam or also destroyed. Those teachings come from a very literal interpretation of the Quran.

The Christian fundamentalist, on the other hand, while he also interprets his scriptures literally (the Bible), follows a very different perspective concerning non-believers. He is to "turn the other cheek", "pray for those who persecute you", and live by example the life of being submitted to God.
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5.0 out of 5 stars inside 9/11, October 16, 2011
This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
The Hamburg Cell gives an indepth look inside the terrorist cell of the Al Queda Terrorists that hijscked the 4 planes on 9/11 and flew them into the twin towers, the pentagon, and united 93 that was headed for Washington D.C. to either fly into the White House or the Capitol building that was overtaken by normal citizens who became heros that day taking back the plane and to our benefit crashed it into the ground in shanksville pensilvania to save another american building from being hit. the movie goes inside the entire plot of 9/11 from when the idea for the planes event was thought up to the day of 9/11 in a tastefull way showing the dedication of the terrorists to perfom a jihad on american soil. if you want to see how it all started and how the brainwashing of these martyrers developed into a full blown plan to kill thousands of inocent people in america. a must see movie that you will get a full understanding of just how much Americans and our way of life is hated by muslim extreemists
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must See, September 11, 2011
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
Sometimes you need to see the other point of view. This makes you see how they were thinking and to the very extremes terrorists will go to fulfill a mission of hate. Loved this movie. I watch it whenever it's on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Perspective, August 15, 2011
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This review is from: THE HAMBURG CELL (DVD)
I wrote a paper in college about this movie. It's one of the few written from the perspective of the terrorists, and paints them in a sort of victimized light. It's definitely worth a watch, and is sure to inspire debate in a group.
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THE HAMBURG CELL
THE HAMBURG CELL by Antonia Bird (DVD - 2006)
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