United 93

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +4

Content: +1/2

This intense drama tells of the actions of 9/11/01 aboard the hijacked flight bound for Washington D. C. Told from the perspectives of the passengers, the flight crew and those monitoring the plane, the film shows how complete strangers united against a common enemy. Indeed, the film is a cautionary tale that states united we stand, divided we fall.

Its not a faultless film. Occasional clunky acting, profane language and spasmodic cinematography are distracting at times, but still, it is one of the most potent films I've seen since The Passion of the Christ. Perhaps that's because it's about something that affects us all. In a time when even members of our own nation are quick to point out the faults and foibles of America, assessing that we are ultimately the problem with the world, here's a film that reminds viewers that we are the home of the brave, a people who look at a problem and resolve to fix it. While watching this film, you gain a true respect for the passengers of that ill-fated flight and the people on the ground who were determined to do their job and protect their countrymen.

The producers wisely hired unfamiliar faces to play the characters. What's more, actual people who manned ground controls were employed to play themselves, thereby helping to avoid the distraction of celebrity. True, some of these performances lacked the pizzazz associated with the famous, but it resulted in giving the production an earthiness, while also avoiding thespian histrionics.

The day that changed the modern world remains fresh in our minds and as we sit in the theater, the realization hits home that this war will be unlike any other. (How do you defeat devoted zealots willing to kill themselves and innocent bystanders for a cause they believe is just?)

My only real problem with the film is the erratic movement constantly employed by the camera operator. A trend in movies, the not-so-steady hand-held cam serves to create tension and heighten a films pacing. But its overuse can become distracting, even nauseating. Its abundant use is indicative of a frugal filmmaker (a handheld camera doesnt require time-consuming lighting setups) or of a filmmaker unsure of the potency of his script. The tension and synergy are already built into United 93s script. A spasmodic camera is simply unnecessary.

That said, I dont think this photographic choice will distract audiences from the film's tribute and warning. Though our country is at odds with its involvement in Iraq, the film makes it clear that we face an evil that masks itself as righteous. It is a film that will touch you, move you and make you think. United 93 is the most powerful film you'll see this year!

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: As tension builds, the uses of the s-word and the f-word are heard (12 times).

Profanity: While I applaud this film for its potent message, beware that there are at least 14 profane uses of Gods name and His son. In frustration and fear, several characters uttered Gods name followed by a curse or used Jesus name as a mere expletive.

Violence: A man is stabbed in the neck. Others are also stabbed during the hijacking. The threat of a bomb going off is always present. We see the destruction of the Twin Towers and a struggle in the cockpit before the planes demise.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: The subject matter is too intense for little ones. Indeed, the portrait of the events of 9/11 may be too disturbing for some adults.

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature teens and Adults

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