Have you ever seen a movie that was so good that you didn't want your friends to watch it?
United 93 is one such movie. Watched it an hour ago and still can't get rid of that horrible feeling. It's as if someone has caught hold of my diaphragm and is squeezing it. I went to see the movie because it has received some of the best reviews of any movie this year. But at the back of my mind I had this doubt that maybe everyone is saying it is good just because they can't be seen to be criticizing the first major attempt at showing the events of Sept 11, 2001 in a movie. So, as long as it is not a bad attempt, it will probably get encouraging reviews from everyone. Or, maybe each of those reviewers DID find the movie touching but I might not just because most of them are americans and they obviously feel much more strongly about the event that I can.
How wrong I was!!! United 93 is easily the most realistic movie about terrorism that I have ever seen. So much so, that the first half an hour seems a bit too disjointed, too chaotic, too slow. It prepared me to be disappointed.. but once things started to happen, the disjointedness and the chaos actually made it all the more captivating.. and the pace suddenly changes till you almost can't take it... You feel uncomfortable, you almost want to get out of the theatre because every second the action on the screen goes on makes breathing increasingly more difficult for you.. you feel claustrophobic.. and yet, you know that the reason you feel all this is because not only the things that are being shown on the screen have ACTUALLY happened, but also that the way they are being shown is so real that it practically transports you inside the plane that is being hijacked. There is no movie-melodrama.. no patriotic speeches.. no contrived situations to make you feel for the people.. the awareness that all these characters actually DID live through all this precludes any need for character development.. you don't need life histories of any of these people... you just see them, and you suffer...
United 93 was easily one of the most difficult movies for me to sit through. And maybe I won't want you to sit through it. (Then again, it might not have quite the same impact if you don't see it in a theatre.. I don't know.. ). But I can't help but admire Paul Greengrass for making this movie the way he did.
Update: Just found out that the actor who seemed to be performing the best in the movie - so much so that I wanted to found out more about him and watch more of his movies - was actually no actor at all!! He was the actual FAA director of operations on that day and was playing himself in the movie! WOW!! Incredible!!!