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UNITED 93: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
A real time dramatization of the fate of United flight 93 from New York bound for San Francisco on September 11, 2001. The fourth of the hijacked planes on that tragic day, it was the only one that did not hit its target: the White House. After the harrowing realization that their plane had been hijacked by terrorists who had already killed a passenger and the pilots, and having leant of the aircrafts smashing into the World Trade Centre, the passengers gather the courage to storm the terrorists, four young Muslims who are hardly prepared for their destructive mission. Meanwhile, the air traffic controllers - and even the military - are baffled and confused as they try to grapple with the enormity of the situation.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
United 93 is not the first dramatisation of this doomed fourth flight on September 11, 2001. There are two previous doco-dramas that have aired on cable tv, but this is the first fully dramatised film - and more importantly in my view, the first made by non-Americans. English filmmaker Paul Greengrass (who makes films like Bloody Sunday and Omagh that are anything but what green grass symbolises) and the UK's Working Title made this carefully researched recreation of that event. Some of the air traffic controllers and military are recreating their own roles in the drama.

Another English filmmaker, Alan Parker, made Mississippi Burning about the murder of young Civil Rights workers in the 60s, and he brought an outsider's unsentimental, hard nosed observation to that story, as does Greengrass with United 93. The result is like watching heart surgery live on tv: it is scary, exciting, palpably real and thought provoking. It triggers feelings of awe for humanity, along with questions that cannot be answered, nor does Greengrass try.

To his ultimate credit, he portrays all the participants - from air traffic controllers and air force officers to cabin crew, passengers and the four hijackers - as human beings first and foremost; they are not goodies or baddies, heroes or villains. We connect with them all, in a way we can't anticipate. The film makes us involved participants on an emotional and human level, while we search for meaning that is never offered. This is the film's primary force, its resistance to examine motives or context - a strange thing, because normally context is so vital to truth. Here, it is the absence of context that ultimately becomes the reality for those on board: there was no context given to them.

There is a commentary on the DVD by director Paul Greengrasses, who gives a revealing insight into the making of the film, a documentary featuring the participation of the families of crew and passengers plus memorial pages, comprising 200 pages of detailed written biographies.

Published December 7, 2006

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

UNITED 93: DVD (M)
(UK/US/France, 2006)

CAST: Lewis Alsamari, JJ Johnson, Gary Commock, Trish Gates, Polly Adams, Cheyenne Jackson, Opal Alladin, Starla Benford, Nancy McDoniel, David Alan Basche, Richard Bekins, Susan Blommaert, Ray Charleson, Christian Clemenson, Liza Colon-Zayas, Lorna Dallas, Ben Sliney, Tobin Miller, Rich Sullivan, Tony Smith, Major James Fox, Staff Srgt Shawna Fox, 1st Lt Jeremy Powell

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass

SCRIPT: Paul Greengrass

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Akroyd

EDITOR: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse

MUSIC: John Powell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dominic Watkins

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 17, 2005

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Director Paul Greengrass - Paul Greengrass gives a revealing insight into[BREAK]United 93 and the creative challenges faced in making the film[BREAK] Documentary: "United 93: The Families and the Film" - The participation of the families of the crew and passengers of United 93 was a fundamental factor in bringing the film makers' vision[BREAK]to the screen. The 1 hour long documentary allows us to meet many of those family members and share their personal account of the events that changed their lives, and learn why they were keen to support the making of the movie.[BREAK] Memorial Pages - The crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 are remembered with 200 pages of detailed written biographies

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

DVD RELEASE: December 6, 2006







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