Starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Dorff, Jay Hernandez, Michael Shannon
Written By: Andrea Berloff
Directed By: Oliver Stone
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Everyone will remember 9/11. People will remember what they were doing on that day for the rest of their lives. Even if they weren’t near the towers, or not even in this state or country; people will still remember this. Then there are people who lived it and survived this awful tragedy. Which is what this movie is about and focuses on. If you can stomach to watch a movie about 9/11, World Trade Center is something to see.
World Trade Center is inspired by the true story of 2 Port Authority policeman, John McLoughlin and Will Jemeno, who were trapped underneath the Twin Towers on September 11th 2001. But the story isn’t just about them, it’s also about their families, and other people from NY & other States who tried to rescue & save as many people as they could. September 11th 2001 was a calm, beautiful day until planes were hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers in New York City. The port authority cops went down to the Towers, not knowing what the hell was going on. They witnessed people jumping out of buildings, paper flying all over the place, people with bloody faces. Just like any policeman, firefighter, etc., their only concerned was to get as many people out of those buildings as possible. A small group from the port authority unit volunteered to go in with Sgt John McLoughlin, since he’s one of the most experience cop in their squad. Plus he had experienced with the 1993 bombings of the WTC as well. As the small group started to head for the towers, that’s when the towers fell right on top of them. 2 people from the unit survived the collapse of the buildings and you witness through their eyes and through their families’ & rescuers’ eyes what happened on 9/11.
Once I heard Hollywood were doing movies on 9/11, I was kind of thinking to myself (and I’m sure everyone else was thinking the same thing): “It’s just too soon!” I haven’t seen the other movie on 9/11 (United 93) yet but I hear it’s a good film. I’ve heard mixed reactions for World Trade Center but I wanted to see it for myself. I thought the movie was nerve wracking, and somewhat uplifting at the end. I won’t deny that I had some tears in my eyes watching this film. I didn’t even know that Nicolas Cage’s character, John McLoughlin, lives in my hometown! I knew a cop from the area survived 9/11, I just didn’t know he lived in Goshen, NY. John was actually my cousin’s soccer coach so that’s kind of interesting. From watching this movie, I can’t believe they survived this. The connection between Will & John, and their will to stay alive to see their wives & families again is what made them stay alive. But besides their characters being trapped at Ground Zero, the rescuers are focused on as well. One guy who was accountant in CT, had a message from God to go down to Ground Zero, put on his old Marines uniform on and try to save someone. I think that’s one area of the film that was strong, showing the sense of unity and pride of New Yorkers (or all of America really). I think having the film broken into 3 storylines helped because if it was just Will & John trapped for 2 hours, it would probably make the audience claustrophobic and nauseous. You get to see what the families went through on that day, realizing what they take for granted every day. Showing that side of the story does slow down the pace a bit but there needs to be some type of emotion in the film. I think Stone definitely captured what the families went through in real life.
I thought the acting was okay. Michael Pena did a good job, and Cage acted the way John does; very quiet and subtle. You can sense what type of person he is from seeing the behind the scenes footage. Will seems to be a more outgoing, funny guy and a little bit more livelier than John. Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal did a decent job as well, playing the wives of the survivors. I thought Oliver Stone made a movie that struck a chord with him and something he wanted to tell. He was born and raised in NY so I think he was a good choice to direct this movie. Some people think this movie isn’t that great and doesn’t focus on the overall tragedy as much. Don’t worry, I don’t think this will be the last 9/11 movie out there so other peoples’ stories will be told. But for this one, I think World Trade Center was a good film that was about survival of 2 men, who are lucky to be alive. I’m sure they will have nightmares about this for the rest of their lives. I know I would probably need extensive therapy and other things to get over that event.
The 2-disc Commemorative Edition DVD has a nice batch of extras to watch after the movie. There’s a Making of that is split up into 3 sections. I liked watching those because there was a lot of behind the scenes footage, and it’s just neat to see how things are done. A lot of the actors talk about their characters, the real life people discuss the movie. A few one of them were hesitant to sign up for this movie because they didn’t want the story to be Hollywoodized (aka Michael Bay movie). I know that’s one of the fears I had when I heard about this. Also on the DVD, there is deleted and extended scenes, commentaries with Stone, and real life survivors and rescuers. Plus there is featurettes on special effects and building Ground Zero, there’s a featurette about sacrifice which is a documentary about the survivors, and then there’s a featurette about Olive Stone remembering his childhood, and growing up in NYC.
Overall, I thought World Trade Center was a good story about 2 men who survived 9/11. The movie is sometimes a little bit slow, but it was also nerve wracking as well. I’m not sure this is the type of movie to watch over and over again, but if you think you’d like to see this film, then do so.
Commentaries by Director Oliver Stone, On-Scene Rescuers, and Survivor Will Jimeno
The Making of World Trade Center
Common Sacrifices: In-depth interviews with real-life survivors and heroes about their rescue and recovery
Building Ground Zero
Visual and Special Effects
Oliver Stone’s New York
Q&A with Oliver Stone
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: I’m not sure I have a favorite scene. Seeing the towers collapse from the inside was a horrifying and realistic scene.
Running Time: 128 minutes