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World Trade Center

  • Film

Time Out says

If ever there was an antidote to the chilly science of Paul Greengrass’s ‘United 93’, it’s Oliver Stone’s cloying 9/11 film: terrifying, soppy, mournful, gung-ho and plodding all in one go. One minute it’s pure horror; the next it’s so daft and sappy that it’s laughable, not least when the hallucinations of a semi-conscious policeman buried in the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center threaten to evoke the LSD scenes in Stone’s ‘The Doors’.

The events of 9/11, we’re told, highlighted ‘the goodness that we forgot could exist’, which alludes to the heroism of John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), two policemen who entered the towers, were pulled alive from the rubble and whose testimonies inform the film. Ten minutes in, the first plane hits, and the attack is depicted as an oversize shadow on the side of a skyscraper. But it’s sound, not image, that has the most impact: creaks and groans, crashes and thumps. Much time is spent within the tangled mess of the collapsed towers, where the camera stays close to the faces of Cage and Pena. Their dialogue is of the tell-my-wife-I-love-her, don’t-you-dare-die variety, which is credible, if barely interesting. Beckett, it’s not. The real banal, soppy stuff takes place outside, and with the policemen’s waiting, worried families.

‘World Trade Center’ is horrific and rousing, and exactly as expected from a film that never threatened to be anything other than the first unchallenging reaction to 9/11 from Hollywood. It exists as the catalyst to a mass purge. If Stone weren’t in charge, someone else would have made an identikit film. Destiny pervades the project, and anyone who expected Stone to toe anything other than the company line was gravely mistaken.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 29 September 2006
  • Duration:130 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Oliver Stone
  • Screenwriter:Andrea Berloff
  • Cast:
    • Nicolas Cage
    • Michael Pena
    • Maggie Gyllenhaal
    • Maria Bello
    • Stephen Dorff
    • Jay Hernandez
    • Michael Shannon
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