United 93 Review

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Hi, Mom, it’s me. I’m on the plane that’s been hijacked. I’m just calling to tell you that I love you, and goodbye. This really kind woman handed me the phone and she said to call youElizabeth Wainio

Paul Greengrass’  United 93 is about the hijacking of the four planes by terrorists on September 11, 2001 and how the authorities as well as the hostages try to handle this situation.

Gut-wrenched. That’s all I actually have to say about this movie. The acting is not present at all in the movie. I saw all those hostages’  souls entering a few actors’  bodies and having their own way.

Never have I seen a movie as tense as United 93. This has entered into my personal list of Top Tense Movies (I know it’s silly, stop laughing!) which only had Se7en, Zodiac, Argo and Drishyam in it. See, I have a terrible cold right now, but believe me, while I was watching United 93, not one time did I sneeze or yawn. Complete involvement from my side was what Paul Greengrass had accomplished.

The movie is shot using the hand-held camera method which fortunately works this time because it attains a position on the horizon, i.e. it transcends a line between reality and motion picture. But, I do have to say, hand-held camera does leave you a little bit sort-of-exhausted at times.

Paul has captured everything there is to capture. The tension, the peril, and the bravery. The stand of the hostages against the terrorists is inspiring, and I think this is the best tribute that they could have got. Selflessness is displayed in such a heartbreaking manner. A few hours ago, they were bank managers and simple flight attendants but within a few hours they unite and unleash a bravery unimaginable at the situation. I was scared to shit just watching a movie about this incident unfold before my eyes, but these guys were there actually and they mustered up a courage that a guy watching something on a television screen couldn’t.

Now, the main attraction is the manipulation. When you are going into a movie like United 93, you know the real incidents’  every intricate detail. That has always been a problem with movies, based on real life incidents, they have no surprises in store for the audience. But, there are genuine points in the movie where you feel everything is going to be alright all though you not it is not. United 93 focuses more on the planning and the emotions of the hostages. There was only one shot of a CNN broadcast, showing the World Trade Centre explosion. All the movies based on such tragic events which had a wide media coverage are bombarded with clips of news reporters and people’s reactions to them at various homes. No crap like that. I was especially taken back by the clip of World Trade Centre explosion. See, when the scene began I thought the plane was going to hit the building and then a loud boom. No sound was how Paul showed. The gravitas of the situation was provided by the reactions of the air authorities. Just awesome.

For faults, I think the hand held camera was used too much and could have been avoided in some scenes. Like the shot of the playing ascending towards the sky, could have been shot in a wider frame using the hand held camera which would have given a more perilous effect. The movie begins at slow pace and doesn’t take off until 45 minutes. These scenes were hugely dependent on the score which is tantalizing and brings about the dread but at times it gets the tempo too high that the audience thinks something vital is about to happen, but nothing important does happen. So, you sort of feel like a fool which just means that score fails to keep up when it was desperately needed to.

But, United 93 manages its dramatic elements with certain flair. I admit it was very hard to stop tears roll from my eyes. I didn’t cry but I am sure many will. The way these characters are depicted put us in a state where we start to analyze what we would have done in the same situation.

United 93 is a thrilling, masterclass of a movie which offers genuine surprises even if it has a well known incident as its plot line. The movie doesn’t have a single dramatic dialogue and uses hand held camera technique to perfection, which puts us the audience, with these hostages and makes us weep, think, pray and at the end, salute their bravery.

Rating : 9.3 / 10

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