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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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It is still too early for a Sept. 11 movie

Sept. 11 will always seem like yesterday. This year will mark the terrorists’ attacks fifth anniversary, but that date will not arrive without a good deal of controversy. As is the case with every major event in history, the folks in Hollywood thrive off of history-based films. From “Titanic” and “Schindler’s List” to “The Perfect Husband: The Lacie Peterson Story,” movie execs salivate at the chance to make a film inspired by true events. Enter Paul Greengrass – the British director and screenwriter best known for directing the “Bourne” series and for having a penchant toward making political, documentary-style films, has recently written, directed and promoted a movie titled “United 93,” a real time depiction of the fourth hijacked plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field after being overtaken by passengers on Sept. 11. But the American public is hardly prepared for Greengrass to rip off its scabs and expose a healing wound.
Greengrass has a reputation for choosing controversial topics. In 2002, Greengrass directed “Bloody Sunday,” a recount of an Irish civil rights protest in 1972 that ended in a bloody massacre. “Bloody Sunday” is shot like a documentary and has been celebrated for its realism and truthfulness to the actual events that occurred. Film critics hail it as an achievement, and Greengrass proved he treats sensitive subjects with care. But the participants and families involved in the Durry, Ireland riots have had nearly 35 years to cope with the tragedy. Their wounds have become scars.
Sept. 11, on the other hand, was a mere five years ago. Critics attest to Greengrass’ ability to handle the national tragedy with care, and Universal Studios, the studio backing the project, has embarked on an extensive advertising campaign in order to show that it is not afraid of the public’s reaction. But, Universal needs to wake up. The trailer for “United 93” is gut-wrenching to watch as passengers are shown as being wrought with terror as Middle Eastern men wielding weapons attempt to hijack the plane.
In a statement on the movie’s Web site, director Greengrass said, “Made with the full support of the families of those on board, “United 93″ will track in real time the dramatic story of what happened inside the aircraft as well as on the ground.” Along with a memorial dedicated to the victims’ families, the site hosts a message board teeming with supportive and angry Americans. Numerous posts comment on the trailer’s violence, one poster calling it the grossest thing he had ever seen, continuing on to say people go to movies to be entertained, not frightened. Maybe in 35 years, America will be healed, but we are not there yet. Therefore, an appeal goes out to Greengrass and his cronies to give America more time to heal, and in the meantime to stop making people sick and paranoid from watching this movie’s trailer that seems to be played before every film audiences paid seven bucks to enjoy.
But “United 93” is not the only 9/11 film to hit theaters this year. “World Trade Center” is set to open in the fall and stars Nicolas Cage as one of the last two Port Authority officials to rescue survivors from Ground Zero rubble. The stories that the films tell are inspired by the truth and both attempt to honor the victims, survivors and families of each incident. While the men and women of Sept. 11 deserve to be recognized for diverting further attacks and saving lives, it is unfair to immortalize them in films that are bound to give audiences nightmares and rehash feelings many have stowed away. Perhaps the families of those involved feel like this might be the only time for their loved ones’ stories to be told. These stories deserve to be heard, but it is about 10 years too early. Give America some time to heal, Hollywood.

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