World Trade Center (2006)

dir. Oliver Stone

A movie based on the true story of two police officers rescued from under the World Trade Center’s rubble on 9/11 needs to be handled with care, sensitivity, and a consistent commitment to realism. Yet World Trade Center doesn’t really do any of this. Half of the movie is too dark to see, fairly representing the reality of being lost in rubble, but forgetting that film is a visual medium which needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Besides, this attempt at being true to life is swiftly undermined when the dialogue consists of such frantic yelps as “What is happening to our world?!” and “Get your mind right!” No one’s acting is believable or compelling, with usually brilliant performers like Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon being reduced to wide-eyed stereotypes gazing solemnly into middle-distance. Considering he plays one of the victims it’s probably a good thing that Nicolas Cage doesn’t bring his full Nicolas Cage game to the role, but he doesn’t bring much else either. It’s all scored with insipid soft strings and piano which rarely shut up. World Trade Center is much more melodrama than drama, and the fact it was released a mere five years after 9/11 suggests more time spent on its craft would have resulted in a film of much more substance.

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