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United 93

September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked. Three of them reached their target. This is the story of the fourth.  

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from United 93

Director: Paul Greengrass

Starring: Christian Clemenson, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson

These days, with a continual focus on terrorism, it is very difficult to live without thinking now and then about the devastating attacks on 9/11. So it was only a matter of time before someone decided to make a film about it, and here it is - United 93. Presented as a real time account of the events on United Flight 93, we are invited to follow the story of the passengers who foil the terrorist plot and attempt to fight it to save thousands of lives, even if it means bringing an end to their own.

As a result of a delay on take off, those onboard learn about the crashes into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon and realise they are not mere hijackings, but something a lot bigger. With the film also following the crisis in Air Traffic Control, this emotionally packed story is undoubtedly one of the most harrowing features to hit the silver screen in a very long time. The scariest part of the film is how unprepared those on the ground and in the military dealing with the situation are, an aspect particularly well depicted. Indeed, the head of Air Traffic Control had only just taken his position on that fateful day, and agreed with Greengrass to play himself in this jarring dramatisation, adding to the immense realism of the film.

Greengrass goes to great lengths to provide a close version of what could possibly have happened inside the plane, based upon the last recordings from the pilot cabin and the telephone calls made by passengers to their loved ones. And managing movies of such a powerful nature is something Greengrass has gained a respected reputation for. Having directed Bloody Sunday in 2002, based on the massacre of Irish civil rights protestors in 1972, he has proven that he has the experience and ability to take controversial events and make them into tactful pictures. Although many still feel that it is too early for 9/11 to be adapted for the screen, it is fair to say that this has been done sensitively, albeit uncomfortable and overpowering viewing which is to be expected.

Laura Sparshot

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)