Film Review: Flight 93

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Flight 93 is slightly more theatrical than United 93 in terms of shots and emotions.

As we reach the ten-year anniversary of a day that’s gone down in history, 9/11,  I’d like to go over a few of the films that have been made surrounding the event.

Released: 2006

Runtime: 1hr 29mins

Flight 93 tells the story of the people who were on the 4th plane and their heroic and moving plight to retake back their hijacked plane. This is the more emotional of the two main films about the planes, with United 93 being more documentary-styled. Flight 93 focuses more on the people themselves, the emotional phone calls between them and their families on the ground and occasional glimpses of communication centres. It reminds me very much of how World Trade Centre deals with everything. Filmic, emotional but tasteful – never taking too much of a Hollywood licence and staying relatively true to events as much as we know.

Toned down documentary style movies succeed based on the acting and the acting of the plane cast is generally excellent, as are the crew and comms room people – especially Monnae Michaell with her Lord’s Prayer scene. The same cannot be said for the families however with some of the emotional scenes looking almost slightly awkward. Crying with no tears really feels out-of-place yet a few of the actresses to this and it just takes away from the experience. The shaky, slightly too zoom-heavy camera work isn’t intrusive so you still feel like it’s a realistic portrayal without it being over the top ramping up the tension. Also, its minimal use of underscoring helps make the film rise above a standard TV movie level to something that was aiming for higher.

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The visceral emotions run high throughout the depiction

However, the only negative I can find with Flight 93 that other viewers may feel is that it’s too emotional based. If you came here looking for precise accounts of the operation then United 93 takes that route, while Flight 93 focuses on characters only. There’s no real right or wrong way of portraying the event between the two, it’s just down to personal preference. If you are emotionally invested, you will find this the draining of the two as you will be reduced to tears egging the passengers on despite knowing their fate. That’s what makes accounts like this all the poignant, upsetting yet utterly fascinating to watch.

On a personal note, I enjoy the film as a piece of cinema despite it still seeming a bit too close to the original events timewise. The difference between these and say Titanic films is that there’s such a period of time over the event, you feel somewhat removed from it all. That’s a debate up for discussion for a long time I’d imagine and by going for the more Hollywood feel, this one hits closer to the knuckle than United 93. It’s more emotionally effective as it’s slightly more cinematically aware, but therefore it is also more potentially offensive compared to the more documentorial and factual presentation of United 93.

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