World Trade Center

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Nicolas Cage, Michael Pea, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on the True Stories of John & Donna McLoughlin and William & Allison Jimeno. Writer: Andrea Berloff. Directed by Oliver Stone.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone tells the true story of the heroic survival and rescue of two Port Authority policemen John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after they went in to help people escape. The film also follows their families as they try to find out what happened to them, as well as the rescuers who found them and pulled them out.

Note:Only 20 people were rescued alive from the World Trade Center after the collapse of the buildings. Officer Jimeno and Sgt. McLoughlin were the 18th and 19th.

PREVIEW REVIEW: This year two films have been made about the events of 9/11. United 93 took a decidedly candid, documentary approach, with a bouncing hand-held camera and unfamiliar actors to recreate that fateful flight. World Trade Center personalizes the heroic deeds of people caught in a hellish nightmare. The first film revealed the strategic commando tactics of the enemy, while the second film steers clear of good guys vs. bad guys. This one is just about the men who went into those buildings and the women who loved them.

Well acted and efficiently directed, World Trade Center is absorbing, but for me, it never quite matches the emotional potency of United 93. Some will disagree, preferring the human back story that World Trade Center presents.

My problem with this major release is that it seems myopically focused. The films title suggests a more comprehensive take on the attack, but the director quickly navigates his story past the terrorist elements, preferring to resurrect the tone of a 1970s disaster flick. Its like a real-life Towering Inferno. That approach seems both a disservice and even misleading. Is Stone dismissing the big picture because he cant blame America for it?

It would appear that director Stone has subdued his political agendas with this take. Or, perhaps, the studio reined him in, believing that moviegoers would prefer to remember the events of that world-changing day without a lot of dark and sour politicking. Then again, the controversial, often arrogant filmmaker uses his energy and a great deal of studio money to make a movie that takes focus off those who caused such destruction. Perhaps, that is his political agenda.

To be fair, thats just theory. Maybe Stones sole motivation was to present a dramatic picture of the courage that can be reached deep within. After all, that is a theme in many of his films. If this is the filmmakers true motivation, then he has succeeded. We see people banding together in order to help one another, and with the two trapped men clinging tenaciously to life, we are given a potent message concerning the sanctity of life.

United 93 reminds us that this war will be unlike any other. (How do you defeat zealots willing to kill themselves and innocent bystanders for a cause they believe is just?) Though our country is at odds with its involvement in Iraq, the film makes it clear that we face an evil that masks itself as righteousness. World Trade Center is more about the struggle to survive. This story shows how the best in people rose above the tragic events of that day.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor:
Paramount

Summary
The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: 5 S-words, 2 f-words, 2 SOBs, and a few minor expletives

Profanity: 2 GDs, 2 Js

Violence: Frightening imagery as the buildings are collapsing; claustrophobic situations, as the two men struggle to survive while unable to move. We see people fall from the buildings. Blood: We see many people wounded from the destruction, but the blood is not excessive.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Respect is shown for Christian beliefs as we see several people in prayer. One man has a dream of Jesus. Later the man speaks about the vision, believing Jesus is comforting him.

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults


Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.