A temporary home and repository for television and film critic Daniel Fienberg, formerly of HitFix.com and Zap2it.com and one half of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Moviewatch: "United 93"
Director: Paul Greengrass
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 71
In a Nutshell: That rating is entirely provisional, because "United 93" is a really difficult movie to fully process instantly, it may be either a good deal better or worse that I'm currently thinking and I may not have any idea until I begin to write my full review next week. It's an undeniably powerful movie that doesn't aim anywhere near the head. It hits viewers in the gut and probably male viewers will feel like they've taken a punch even lower. The movie's language is primal and visceral, which is appropriate given the subject matter. Greengrass works with the same documentary-style realism that made "Bloody Sunday" so traumatic and helped "The Bourne Supremacy" stand out for generic thrillers (and helped that film physically sicken some viewers). The camerawork is all handheld and jittery. The editing is as tight as any movie you'll see this year. But what's the audience for the movie? Who out there is going to rush to relive 9/11? The question isn't whether or not it's too soon for the movie to be APPROPRIATE. The movie isn't exploitative in any way. Paying 10 dollars to see a movie in a theater isn't an involuntary action, or even the casual action of somebody deciding that this is a movie they SHOULD see (like medicine). It's an active process. Interestingly, because the movie doesn't really engage the mind, watching it isn't active. You have to sit back and reexperience, rather than engaging in a thoughtful conversation. Anywho... As you can see... I'm having trouble easily encapsulating my thoughts on this one. One thing I'm sure of: The presence of Mitchum Huntzberger as one of the military officials is just distracting. First he briefly made Rory Gilmore give up on journalism, then he couldn't save the world from giant alien leaches and the filmmakers expect me to believe he's going to protect us on 9/11?
As usual, my full review of "United 93" will be up on Zap2it.com on Friday, April 28.
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