DVD Review: Flight 93
Release Date: May 2, 2006
Distributor: UAV Corporation
· Peter Markle
· Brennan Elliott
· Kendall Cross
· Ty Olsson
· Laura Mennell
· Jerry Wasserman
· IMDb: Flight 93
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 20, 2006
Re-published: September 11, 2011
It's common enough to be gallows humor that whenever a tragedy or disaster happens, within twenty-four hours we begin asking when the "Movie of the Week" will be made about it.
It's been a handful of years since September 11, 2001. And while that's not been long enough to forget (as if we ever could or should), it's at least long enough to give Hollywood the nod of having had good grace.
Flight 93 first appeared on A&E, produced in conjunction with Fox. It makes its DVD debut this May, timed to compete with Universal's big budget parallel story, United 93, and chronicles the tragic events of that awful day beginning shortly after the takeoff of United flight 93 from Boston to San Francisco.
"Mom, we've been hijacked, and I'm calling to say goodbye." -- Elizabeth
It's impossible to watch this movie with detachment; the subject is just too sensitive, too grief-filled. To their credit, one gets the sense that the actors aren't having to rely too heavily on any tricks of the trade to put on a facade of emotion. Using actual footage of the World Trade Center and Pentagon collisions, the filmmakers succeed in recreating the shock, in evoking the rawness, of the attacks America endured.
"We're going to vote soon. I don't know what I'm going to do." -- Jeremy
Much of the film concentrates on the phone calls placed from passengers of United flight 93, the camera taking the viewers from the cabin to the various locations: we're taken to Burnett household as Deena receives calls from her husband Tom; to the Verizon offices as Todd Beamer passes on a message for his family; to an idyllic suburban setting where Elizabeth Wainio's mother tries her best to comfort her daughter through the terror; and to a rustic cabin where Mark Bingham's parents try to get another message through to their son, to encourage him to take the plane back from the terrorists.
"We're waiting til we're over a rural area. Then we're going to take back the airplane... It's up to us to do it. No one else can." -- Tom
The question has come up: "How can you watch that?" As though the filmmakers are pandering, are cheapening the subject, are somehow exploiting the victims. Maybe that's because this is what we've come to expect from life-based disaster films. I can only say that, from my perspective, the producers seemed to have taken the respectful approach, building around the facts as closely as possible to provide a story with a flowing narrative.
As to how I can watch... how can I not? Flight 93 is important. It serves to remind us that we are not invulnerable. That there are evil men out there; men who want to kill us -- who will kill us -- if we do not kill them first. But it also reminds us that there are heroes among us, heroes who don't yet know their own inner strength until they find themselves confronted with the ultimate evil. Heroes like the passengers of Flight 93.