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Thursday, August 31, 2006

World Trade Center - The Movie

One of my favorite Shakespeare tragedies is Othello. I thought the movie version a few years ago with Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Fishburne was awesome. But one of the major weaknesses of the play, in my opinion, is the character Iago. He is a classic villain. A delicious role for any actor, I'm sure. But the problem, as I see it, is that he is too evil. It's unrealistic. No one is that bad. He has no redeemable characteristics at all. They say that even Hitler loved children and dogs.

OK, that's a weird preface for me to talk about the newest Oliver Stone picture, World Trade Center. I say this because I am a person who hates Oliver Stone's previous movies. I loathe and despise them for their anti-Americanism and bizarro attempts to revise history. And so, my natural reaction when I found out he was making a movie about 9/11 was "Oh, good grief! This'll be aweful." Another screeching Bush-is-the-source-of-all-evil bit of leftist propaganda. How boring. How unimaginative.

That was how I felt until I started reading the reviews. I still have not yet actually seen the film. This short review by James M. Kushiner at Touchstone is interesting. It's brief so, if this interests you at all, please read the link. What intrigues me most is the suggestive religious themes -even Christian themes- Kushiner refers to.

I'm still unhappy with Stone's other movies but maybe I Iago-ized him in my mind. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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Reel Fanatic said...

I too was worried when I heard that Oliver Stone was going to take this on, but came away pleasantly surprised by how well he managed to check his politics at the door and just deliver a great movie about American heroism

David said...

See, I am with Stone in most - not all but most - of his other movies. However, what raised 9/11 to a great movie to me was that it did gently touch on the themes you mention and gave us a realistic exploration of people touched with the grace of bravery.

Anonymous said...

This movie is unlike any other Stone movie. It does not even seem like an Oliver Stone movie when you're watching it. I did not want to see this movie...I happened to think that it is a bit too soon for 9/11 movies.

Yet, this movie (much like the other 9/11 movie United Flight 93) reveals a story that needs to be told. I live in metro NYC and did not know the story of the two Port Authority Police Officers in question. One of them lives in the town next to mine.

It's about heroism to be sure...but Stone even gives a pleasant depiction of an ex-marine who goes to his church to pray after the attacks and then tells his pastor he's going to ground zero to look for survivors. A positive depiction of an obsviously conservative Christian placing his faith into action!

My favorite scene happens to be one depicting police officers from Sheboygan watching the 9/11 attacks eating donuts at a diner in Sheboygan at the beginning of the movie...and serving brats to the rescue workers at ground zero near the end of the movie.

It truly is a movie worth seeing...because it depicts not just the heroism of the two men caught beneath the rubble...but of all the ordinary heroes that day!

Go see it Stieg! You can even see it on a Saturday night now that you don't have to worry about preaching Sunday morning! :-)

Dan Grams+

Darrell said...

I suppose that, as a rock and roll fan, I've learned to enjoy the "art" of any given artist and totally disregard the "message," and I even apply that aesthetic to a drug-addled wack-job like Oliver Stone. As moronic as the messages behind his movies usually are, I've often found myself enjoying them. I liked "JFK" for it's bombastic, opera-like elements, and I even enjoyed "Nixon" if only for the clever editing and photography. In fact, on one occasion I actually agreed with Stone's message: it was the instance of his indictment of TV Culture in "Natural Born Killers." I agree with him that TV can and often does desensitize people to the point that they don't even take life or death seriously anymore.

Having said all of that, my reaction to the idea of Stone making a movie about 9/11 was "Oh, Lord, NO!" My gut told me that the movie would be the cinematic equivalent of a Fidel Castro speech about 9/11: long, rambling, self-aggrandizing and just plain WRONG. Nonetheless, considering that even the National Review gave the movie a positive review, I think it's safe for me to assume that I can see it without leaving the theater disgusted and angry. They say that it's Stone's most "conservtive" movie... that it's even artistically conservative, with fewer of his typical skewed POVs and helter-skelter edits. I plan to rent it when it comes out on DVD. I can't bring myself to see it in the theater. Too good of a chance of public weeping and all that.

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary