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United 93 [Blu-ray]
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I first saw the film “United 93” when it was released in 2006. Since this was the first dramatic film about 9/11 – the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 – I was curious to see how Hollywood would treat this sensitive subject. Would moviemakers treat this tragedy in their usual histrionic fashion, making it an exercise in crass commercialism… or would they seek to honor the victims in a more subdued, historically accurate manner?

Fortunately for all concerned, director Paul Greengrass and his production team chose the latter course, thereby creating an outstanding film that dramatizes the events of that day while at the same time honoring every one of the 40 innocent souls who lost their lives aboard United Airlines Flight 93.

“United 93” presents a clear timeline of events aboard the doomed jetliner from the time passengers, crew members, and four terrorists boarded in Newark, New Jersey until the moment it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Much of what is dramatized is based on transcripts of radio transmissions and telephone calls, and recalls the heroic efforts of passengers and crew to reclaim the aircraft from the terrorists who had hijacked it.

The film also gives an account of the larger tragedy unfolding in the skies at the same time. Air traffic controllers hear garbled radio transmissions from three other hijacked aircraft and report their suspicions to supervisors. The Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Air Force struggle to sift through frequently confusing and faulty information in their efforts to keep abreast of the situation, and make correct decisions on how to best respond.

“United 93” has a realistic, almost documentary feel to it. The acting by its fine ensemble cast is subdued and very natural. (Actors selected to portray passengers and crew met with family members prior to filming, and several other cast members were participants in the actual events of the day. They included air traffic controllers, U.S. Air Force command and control officers, and even the then FAA Director of Operations.)

The Blu-ray edition of “United 93” includes the feature film (presented with outstanding 1080p video and DTS Master Audio quality) and a host of excellent special features. The bonus material includes a documentary about the families of the United 93 passengers and crew, and another film that documents the events of the day as told my many of the participants.

I’ve seen other films with 9/11 at their subject matter, and none of them are anywhere near as good as “United 93.” Even now, fifteen years after 9/11, this is a difficult and harrowing film to watch. But it should be seen by everyone. Most highly recommended.
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on September 14, 2016
Based on what happen to United 93 on 9/11. In some small way what those people went through. Knowing they would never see their love ones. Show just how evil those miss guided people were. Having no feeling for those on the plane. And how complacent we had become. Not know how to handle what was happening that day when so many lost their lives to pure evil. A must see, to see what we are facing.
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on October 7, 2011
Of the four passenger jets hijacked on 9/11, United Flight 93 is the only one that didn't reach its target. This was due to the heroism of its passengers who learned about the other hijackings and the hits to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon via phone calls to loved ones after their own plane was commandeered. When they realized that they were to be used as a bomb, they took matters into their own hands. The events depicted are drawn from numerous phone calls made to friends, families and associates during the hijacking.

As a former pilot, I personally prefer the footage that shows the confusion, the consternation, and ultimately the incredulity of the stunned people who manned the control towers, the flight service centers and the FAA, along with the U.S. military. Amid mounting chaos, those guys managed to land every commercial aircraft in United States airspace (approximately 4200) in just under three hours, an unprecedented action done with blinding speed and total safety. The hijacked planes had their transponders turned off so any plane still in the air would be an enemy.

From the extras on the DVD (from Amazon.com), I know the actors actually called upon the families of the victims they portrayed, saw their homes, met their families and heard their voices from phone messages left just before they died. The actors are remarkably authentic in their portrayals. In addition, a number of the air traffic control officials who were on duty that morning portray themselves in the film.

I had avoided seeing this when it was first released, but Seattle stage actor Cheyenne Jackson was cast as Mark Bingham, one of the heroic passengers, so naturally I wanted to see "our guy" on the silver screen.

I'm glad I did.
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on May 10, 2012
I came across a 9/11 movie toward the end. I did not know the title. I thought "United 93" was it. It wasn't. But I'm glad I ordered it. It was hard watching the passengers treating the day like just another day, just another flight; knowing the finale. But like another Amazon reviewer said, I felt better at the end of the film that those passengers fought fiercely for their lives.

Bloody Sunday [VHS]

I'm working backwards through Director Paul Greengrass' body of work starting with "United 93" then "The Bourne Supremacy." I never heard of "Bloody Sunday" the movie or the event, which happened when I was a young adult.

This event was horific. However, I guess I was spoiled by Greengrass' later works. The only tie is Greengrass' hand-handle technique. The presentation was disjointed. I did not connect with any of the people. I can make this point, because Director Greengrass snippets of various passengers in "United 93," that were powerful enough to make me care very much about them. So, I think Director Greengrass evolved in this aspect of his up close technique.

As a matter of fact, I just ordered Greengrass "United 93" Working Script from Amazon to see exactly how Greengrass scripted the everyday actions of the passengers on the plane before terror struck as well as their individual reactions after the plane was taken over.
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on July 9, 2014
UNTHINKABLE HORROR " IT HAD ME GASPING 10 SECONDS IN" IT SENT A CHILL OF UTTER, HORROR and DISBELIEF Then trying to grasp what you just saw was real, And then the sorrow sets in for the people that were just killed. For me it ,means you are compelled to never let it be forgotten. ABSOLUTE GREAT MOVIE...and as a side note In my opinion this is a SUPERIOR MOVIE compared to the other title. A Must see again and again. if only to remind and remember,for all terreriost attacks on us and our" friends" Pass it down for Respect and Honor...
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on November 23, 2006
Two Hollywood films dealing with the same day; Zero political slant. Hmmm ... says a lot. The stories inherent in the events of 9/11 speak for themselves. Even Hollywood has respect for that. Michael Moore, aside, of course.

I finally got to see United 93 last night ... on DVD. Recently, I saw World Trade Center on the big screen. No, I didn't cry as much during United 93 as I did during my viewing of WTC ... but it was no less an emotional experience.

Both films deal with relatively isolated mini-events within the whole of the terror & horror of the big story of 9-11-01.

United 93 is shot with handhelds - providing a very similar viewing experience to that of The Ambush scene in The Last of the Mohicans. Far from distracting, I found it a perfect tool used by the director [Paul Greengrass] to enable the viewer to be completely immersed. It created a sense of confusion, much like the actual participants must have been going through ... was the bomb real or fake; were the 2 pilots dead or just forced to the ground? It was very effective.

So, whether the scene was at an air traffic control tower, a military central command post, or on the plane itself, one felt the urgency to act and yet the inability to sometimes do so due to the "fog of war". I found myself wanting to shout out ... to change the course of events. It was frustrating. Just as it must have been for some of those participants. Not being able to act ... a plane disappears from radar, next thing you know CNN is showing a smoldering WTC tower.

Unlike many "disaster" movies, this one had no fluff; no lets-get-to-know-the-characters syrupy dialog. It all just happens before your eyes. Very quickly, too. Before you even realize it has started, the movie is over. The fastest 1 hour and 51 minutes of movie viewing I have ever witnessed.

Every American should see these two movies, the Twin Towers, if you will. Every American should reflect upon what they see. There was selfless, heroic action ... Particularly, when the screen finally goes black in United 93, we are reminded of the special gift those who perished on that flight gave to us all that day. They gave their lives, yes, but more importantly, they showed us the way. They came face to face with the enemy, they put any inherent differences aside, they acted ... together ... as one.

And, they won. Never forget.
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on February 8, 2018
Suspenseful, edge of your seat, action packed movie. Depicts the events of that terrible day when a commercial airliner was hijacked with numerous passengers on board. It will be remembered as one of the most terrible days in American history. Ours hearts and prayers go out to all the family and friends who lost loved ones on that day.
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on December 1, 2011
When Paul Greengrass went into production on this film, many people said it was "too soon." Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but the fact is that this film will shake you and it's time of release in relation to the actual events depicted may have even helped the film to make a larger impact on its audience, as the events were fresher than they are at this point.

The film is masterfully written and directed. It is composed in a documentary style, which lends the film a realistic tone. It feels like you are on the plane and in the middle of the action as the air traffic controllers witness these horrific events. Another great help to the film's sense of reality is the lack of stars in it. By not using recognizable, high-profile actors, Greengrass avoids taking you out of the movie as it unfolds. There are no, "Hey look, it's Bill Murray!" moments in the film, and in this case it adds to the audience's ability to get drawn into the story.

The whole film is quite an emotional, stressing experience, but there are two shots that haunt my mind whenever I remember this film. The first is a shot of the air traffic controllers being baffled about the whereabouts of one of the planes while through the windows in the background you can see that the plane is well within view. It offers a unique perspective of the events and it is jaw-droppingly effective. The second shot is the closing shot of the film. It also offers a unique perspective that I honestly don't think I have seen in other films. It is the perfect, completely unsettling way to end the film.

An amazing film that is worth viewing at least once. Even if the film is too much to take for any repeat viewings, it needs to be seen. It is a film experience I will never forget, and I'm sure you won't either.
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on October 13, 2013
My goodness, I have seen this movie several times and each time it almost brings me to tears. The events that took place in New York on 9/11/01 will never be forgotten. The movie depicted a scenario regarding what possibly took place aboard United Airlines Flight 93. I am so sorry those brave passengers lost their lives that terrible day. The acting was superb and the story had me on the edge of my seat.
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The lives of the crew and passengers of United Flight 93 were extinguished when the Boeing 757 in which they were traveling plowed into Pennsylvania farmland on September 11, 2001. UNITED 93 pays them apt tribute.

This film takes a different approach than A&E's FLIGHT 93 - released almost simultaneously - and is in my judgment the better of two fine films. The dizzying flight from one civilian and military group trying to make sense of the incomprehensible and fast-moving events of that autumn morning helps the viewer feel in his marrow the sheer confusion that reigned. I do not think that confusion should be mistaken for incompetence in a nation unaccustomed to attacks on its own soil, and this film arguably allows the facts to stand without damning interpretation.

It is horrifying to watch the passengers' reconstructed predicament on the plane, and FLIGHT 93 does not avert its gaze from the fact that not all passengers might have agreed with the plan to take aircraft back. I am still shaking minutes after the film's conclusion, which starkly mimics the stubbornness of impact.

I find the juxtaposition of doomed victims praying the Lord's Prayer minutes before their death with the recitation of Koranic verse by the murderers who killed them unhelpful, but perhaps this bit of poetic license was not--as it might appear--intended to suggest a moral equivalence between those two very different acts of faith.

More horrifying than the A&E project, this film should be seen but younger viewers are not likely to benefit from the horror it so movingly portrays.

One might, I suppose, pick up this DVD for voyeuristic purposes. Alternatively, it is a good thing for one hundred twenty minutes to stare evil and innocence in the face, to distinguish clearly between the two, and then to return to real life to live out one's choice.
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