Friday, October 13, 2006

World Trade Centre

"Can you still see the light?"

Nicolas Cage
Michael Pena
Maria Bello
Maggie Gyllenhaal

Written By:
Andrea Berloff

Directed By:
Oliver Stone

My rating: 1/5

On the cusp of a wave of controversy is where Oliver Stone likes to live. Perhaps that explains why he would take on such a low quality project. The film's very existence caused uproar and what was promised was a sensitive, intelligent celebration of the heroes involved in the 9/11 tragedy. Unfortunately for the audience, what was delivered was a weak, boring, completely unchallenging story about two police officers who get buried under the rubble after the second tower came down.

The film begins well enough emphasising how normal the day was before the attack. However, it very quickly descends into exactly what it shouldn't; a tacky, over-sentimental waiting game which cuts between the two trapped cops and their families who are running around shouting, eagerly awaiting their return.

For the first 40 minutes or so, there are some interesting moments of panic in and around the towers. Stone really gets across the idea that nobody knew what was going on and effectively captures the chaos and fear that people were feeling. He commendably stays with the story he wants to tell without descending into political territority.

The negative side of staying with this story is the fact that we really care very little about these characters. They are not slowly built, likeable characters. It is presumed we will like them because they are on our side. They are the 9/11 heroes who have been exalted to beyond-rational heights by the American media. That's not to say that they don't deserve the praise. They most certainly do, but it is lazy writing to presume this will be enough to attach an audience to a character's plight.

Overall, this film fails because of the over-reliance on the audience's already raw emotions on this subject. Perhaps that explains its great reviews in the U.S. and its very poor reviews here.

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