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World Trade Center

A True Story of Courage and Survival 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from World Trade Center

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

World Trade Center takes us back to what seems like only yesterday, but was in fact over five years ago. We return to the September 11 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, when two planes were hijacked and crashed into the buildings. John McLoughlin (Cage), a character based on one of the police officers from the NYPD, sets up a team to enter one of the towers and try to help to evacuate the building, along with other crews of firemen and paramedics. The collapse of the two buildings, however, takes the team by surprise, with the five men led by McLoughlin becoming trapped under the debris.

McLoughlin and his team-mate, Will (Peña), enter a harrowing period of time, powerless under the rubble, being burnt by the surrounding fires and, worst of all, unable to know whether somebody will come to their rescue. Time is running out for John and Will, knowing that the next time they close their eyes, it could be their last.

Things are no better on the outside. McLoughlin’s wife (Bello), with her five children, are following the agonising events on TV, aware that John is inside the building. Meanwhile, Will’s pregnant wife (Gyllenhaal) finds herself in the same hell, powerless in front of the TV waiting to know if her husband is still alive.

Although many have argued that making a film out of such a tragedy is ill taste, including myself initially, World Trade Center does so in a considerate and beautiful way. Unlike in films of the Pearl Harbor mould, the courageous stories of those involved in the September 11 atrocities are portrayed with grace and the story is not degraded. Although we will never be likely to forget, this film reiterates the world in which we are living and is a perfect tribute to those who risked or lost their lives in order to save those of their friends and colleagues.

Ricky Wyatt

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)