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    Here begins your journey into the mind of everybody's favorite asian, and I don't mean Jet Li.
What follows is the somewhat inane, mostly irrelevant, and self-important ramblings of a man on the brink of madness.
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Monday, May 01, 2006
 United 93 - Quick Review    [L]

Just saw the movie United 93 tonight - I'll do a full review later, but I still need to process it.

All I want to say right now is that this movie hits like a haymaker - and that's why the movie was so good. It'll make you tense, shocked, and teary-eyed. This is as close to the unvarnished truth as you can get, and that we know how it ends in no way lessens the impact of this film.

It is this year's Passion of the Christ - and I daresay United 93 made an even bigger impression on me than Passion. Let me explain: I have spent the majority of my life internalizing the trial and crucifixtion of Jesus Christ. It is important to me, to be sure, but it is a story I already know in great detail and accept in full. It is a familiarity wrought by years of close experience.

United 93 hits in like manner, but the freshness and newness of it exponentially increases its impact. While I knew about United flight 93 in the overall scheme of 9/11, and I knew the details of the matter, I never really felt their story. All of America went through 9/11, but to me - out here in the midwest, hundreds of miles away from NY/DC, having never experienced NY, nor visited DC since childhood, nor having any close relatives affected - it didn't have the same impact as those who lived it.

What United 93 does is make you live it. The movie was shot in the shaky-handheld documentary style - and rather than being a cheap gimmick, it does an absolutely complete job of immersing you in the movie. It is literally a movie you experience. Great pains were taken to ensure that the movie is as detailed and as factually accurate as possible, and it shows. You don't get to know any of the characters in-depth, but the detail is such that every single one is a tangible, breathing, living human being.

This has turned into a much more detailed "quick review" than I planned - a testament to its impact upon me - so I'll leave you with a quick summary, and save the meat of the review for another time:

If you think you are up to it, you need to see this movie. This movie is raw, brutal, and emotional. But it needs to be seen. Some say it's too soon - rather, it couldn't be shown soon enough.

Reviews around the blogroll-
American Digest
Of a Fire in a Field
The film I saw by myself tonight expands that meaning and brings a human face to the acts by the passengers of United 93 that endure only in that rare atmosphere that heroes inhabit. What I know in my heart, but what always escapes my understanding until something like this film renews it, is that heroism is a virtue that most often appears among us not descending from some mythic pantheon, but rising up out of the ordinary earth and ordinary hearts when the moment calls for actions extraordinary.
You don't "review" this film if you have an ounce of soul left to you. You watch it.

"United 93," from the first frame to the last, simply and clearly lets you see what happened high in the air on that day. It is, as the phrase on the poster says, "The plane that did not reach its target." Instead, it reached something unintended and much higher. It became and will remain a legend; an integral part of the tapestry of the American myth from which we all draw what strength remains to us, and, in the future, will surely need to draw upon even more deeply. Like the best of our legends, it arises out of our ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
"United 93" is a simply told, near-documentary look at how that fire in the field came to be. As I said above, the film has no message, but if you -- as I finally did -- choose to go, it will pose you a question: What would you do, an ordinary person in an extraordinary moment when life and death, good and evil, were as clear as the skies over America on September 11? Will you, as so many of our fellow citizens yearn to do these days, stay seated? Or will you stand up?

On one of our days to come, there will be another test. You'd best have an answer prepared.
Dave at Garfield Ridge
Movie Review: United 93
United 93 may be the most amazing film I have ever seen. It's certainly among the most intense, and most tragic.

I just got home from the theater, and my stomach is *still* churning in knots. The entire theater was silent throughout, half in tears, half in shock. One person got ill during the film and vomited in the hallway out of the theater. By the end, applause erupted, although I couldn't bring myself to clap. To those who said, "too soon," I say it's a shame that we had to wait five years to see something like United 93.

Calling United 93 a movie isn't accurate. It's like a documentary, or reality television. Even that doesn't cover it, as in either a documentary or reality TV, the subject knows there is a camera present, and behaves accordingly. In United 93, director Paul Greengrass is able to capture *life* as it happens. Unfortunately, the film just happens to "capture" the events of the worst day in modern American memory.
United 93 is the best movie of 2006 so far, and I can't fathom how any film this year can be more powerful than this one.
I won't lie to you-- United 93 is the toughest film I've ever sat through, tougher than anything.

But it was worth it.
Right Wing Nation
United 93: Movie And Memorial
I wouldn’t take small children. It hasn’t been sanitized — and that’s exactly as it should be. Teenagers, however, should see this movie. Every American should see this movie. My only criticism is that it’s about four years late.
While watching the movie, I found my hand, almost by itself, slipping down to my side and resting on my Glock when the hijackers were on the screen. I knew I was looking at a movie, but I wanted to empty my magazine into them up on the screen. I expected the film to recall some of the furor I felt on that day; I did not expect to relive it.
It’s not too soon. This movie should have come out in 2002. And this movie should be shown in every theater on every 9/11 until the War on Terrorism is over.
Everyone should see this movie. If you are anywhere near Pennsylvania, you should hop in your car and drive to Shanksville to see the memorial. Take something as a tribute, and leave it there, as others have.

I went, and I will never be the same.
United 93 and Our "Survivors Guilt"
I know the story of United 93, but the written word doesn’t tell the story like a movie does. Movies are just a step away from dreams, or in this case, a nightmare. Movies imprint on the mind in a different way that the written word. For weeks after September 11th I don’t think I was able to sleep more than a few hours at a time. I always snapped bolt upright in the night in a sweat at the scene in my mind of the aircraft hitting the towers and knowing, really knowing what that scene represented. It wasn’t a machine crashing; it was people in the act of dying, of people being killed. They were dying and being killed deliberately and by the design of a group of madmen. In those months of no sleep and nightmares, it always felt to me that in my dreams, the planes weren’t hitting the WTC - they were hitting me for my crime of “not being there”.
The United 93 movie represents something else besides a just a movie. It’s the ugly and cold metric of commerce. There are a number of people in the business of producing movies who are betting that Americans won’t go to see this movie. They believe that people do not wish to be reminded of that day. They do not think that Americans will go to see what happened. If United 93 were to fail, it would give rise to the myth that “Americans do not support the war”, which is becoming less a call for “leaving Iraq”, and more often than not is now a call to return to the days of the 1990s, when threats were ignored and allowed to fester into the embolism of 9/11.

They find it very easy to make a movie that drives a wedge into the country and destroys the morale of free people while it gives comfort to our enemies, like “Fahrenheit 9/11”, or creates a series of unsustainable paranoid theories like “Syriana”. But to make a movie about the first battle in the war against terror and show citizens as heroes, that is simply beyond the people who run Hollywood. Its extremely important to me that United 93 does well at the marketplace, because if it were to fail, it would give comfort to those who say there is no heroism in fighting back, that there is only heroism in defeat and dissention.
I do not know yet if I can go into a theater this weekend and watch a movie like United 93, but I do know that whether I choose at this point to see the movie or not, I will be buying a ticket to ensure that the legacy of that story is given the respect that it deserves by popular culture.
Annika's Journal
United 93
Go see the movie. It's done in a gritty, matter-of-fact, almost documentary style. It increases the feeling that you are watching real events. Which is important because these were real events. It actually happened. There are no viewpoint characters, which allows the audience a certain distance from the very horror of that day. But it also makes you want to yell at the screen, "no, no, no, don't you see what's happening!"

To those who said "it's too soon," (and I'm not sure that story wasn't an urban myth blown out of proportion by the anti-American media) I wonder how such weak people ever get out of bed in the morning. I'm sure the passengers on flight 93 thought it was "too soon" too. I'm sure they would have liked a little more time. But in this world, sometimes there are unpleasant realities that must be confronted. And thank God there are still people who will do what needs doing when the time comes.
National Review
9/11 Unvarnished
It's also essential that we remember ourselves not just as victims on that day — remember not just what was sad, but what was inspiring. The passengers of Flight 93 were the first Americans to fight back. United 93 wisely avoids focusing too exclusively on any of the individual passengers. Instead, they are presented as an ensemble exemplifying many of the virtues of the American character: a great improvisational intelligence, as they quickly understand and cope with the radically new, horrifying circumstances they are presented with; an extraordinary civic facility, demonstrated by their ability to formulate rapidly a plan of action among themselves; and a fierceness when provoked. In preparation for the assault on the terrorists, one passenger tells a flight attendant: "Get every weapon you can find. We need weapons."

The heroism of those passengers is now forever part of our story as a nation. It's not too soon for a major Hollywood film that portrays it brilliantly. It's about time.