Friday, August 11, 2006

"World Trade Center".

Last night, I saw the much anticipated Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center and that was a major disappointment.
(WARNING: the following contains spoilers)

* *

Half of the movie is taken up with these two real-life Port Authority cops entombed in the dark rumbles of Tower 2 and then the movie becomes a real bore - not that it was exactly exciting before either. In fact, it could just as easily have been a movie about trapped miners.

So it goes on and on with conversations about their personal relationships, including a series of flashbacks about their family relationships which reads like a syrupy family photo album. The idea could have been interesting but the characters seem to come straight from a bad TV soap opera.

Then you have this weird character – who is real too, I have read - an ex-marine who sees what is happening on television in Connecticut and goes to NY because he believes he is on a mission from God. He is the one of course who will find them.

The religious undertones of the movie also got under my skin. One of the two cops, while he’s in the rubbles, sees along with the audience a shimmering vision of Jesus (while the other has a vision of his wife). In any case, the movie seems to tell us that their rescue had little to do with sheer luck, as if God intended to save them. What kind of romantic vision is that?(I wonder how well that played with the families of those who did not make it).

As can be expected, (or else the movie would have been too controversial) there is little political content but the little flag-waving it contains is irritating. For example, the Marine guy who was on a mission from God says after he saved the two cops that America is "going to need some good men to avenge this," and we learn in the ending credits that he subsequently reenlisted for two tours of duty in Iraq. No wonder many right-wing conservatives praise it.

Unfortunately, I find that it is sometimes difficult to discuss "World Trade Cente" simply as a movie with some people here in the U.S.. For a lot of people it seems it is a form of exorcism or powerful catharsis. In fact, in some cases people will get offended that you don’t share the same emotional response to the movie, as if you didn’t care about 9/11 itself. I was told by some of my friends here in California that maybe I didn’t like it because I “wasn’t here”. Then I brutally realized I should keep quiet as we were not really talking about the movie any more.
I must say, however, that I find it odd that people who haven’t been directly involved in 9/11 still get so emotional about the movie. It seems it may be time to simply move on and not relish the dramatic sensationalism some people tend to entertain here in
America. Of course, the sensationalism of the news by TV media like Foxnews or even CNN certainly does not help.

In the end, we should all be able to discuss the movie for what it is – a movie, and not a good one in my humble opinion.


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