Saturday, April 29, 2006

Why I won't see United 93

Friday, 4/28

The newspapers as well as most radio and TV commentary programs, are packed with stuff about the movie that opened today - "United 93".

The New York Times reviewer ends his/her long and thorough - perhaps too thorough - review with these lines: ".... five years after the fact and all the books, newspapers and magazine articles, committees and scandals later, I think we need something more from our film artists than another thrill ride and an emotional pummeling. "United 93" inspires pity and terror, no doubt. But catharsis? I'm still waiting for that." (The NYT's always excellent reviewer, Manohl Dargis)

The equally excellent Los Angeles Times's reviewer, Kenneth Turan, review concludes with the lines: "... it (the film) may play better in the future. If we have one."

I sort of feel sorry for these highly respected film reviewers. One can only imagine the discussions and arguments that went on in the editorial offices, before these final reviews were put into print. Incidentally, I have no faith whatsoever, in most of the major radio & TV station commentaries vis-a-vis this film ... and if you need me to explain that last line, I'll do that as a separate writing.

I will never see "United 93".

Why ?

I don't have to. Nor do you. What can possibly be gained from sitting through this film/theatrical sound-stage recreation ... almost every detail of which (the actual event) is known, and which have been written about, over and over and over and over again. Why would any sane person want to have his emotions rung out by having himself put through this filmic wringer. It adds nothing to our existing knowledge of those horrible 9/11 events. It adds nothing to our knowledge, or our appreciation, of those last-moment, desparate, heroics of the United passengers and crew.


On sound stages .... under 2000-watt movie lights ... and breaks for lunch and dinner.

And the viewers' emotions inevitably damaged and processed - perhaps beyond even long-time repair.

For what purpose, other than "entertainment", since it is surely not a documentary ?

Can't think of any.

Gary S Franklin