United 93 - Now with Comments about the Actual Movie
First of all, I thought the movie was fairly well done cinematographically, despite suffering from shaky camera syndrome. There's one scene in the beginning, when a hijacker, looking very dark and somber, is walking through the airport and pauses for a moment in front of a garish advertisement depicting a scantily clad woman. For me, the juxtaposition of the hijacker and the ad recalled the pronouncements mullahs like to make on the evils of our society. I suspect that was intentional.
I thought the movie was even-handed and factual. The hijackers were not dehumanized, but neither was the enormity of their actions downplayed.
I found myself considering the difference between physical and moral courage. It takes courage of a sort, or perhaps audacity is a better word, to plan this sort of coordinated attack and to carry it out. I can't imagine myself ever having the physical courage to embark upon a suicidal mission, regardless of the strength of my beliefs.
But on the other hand, I do have the moral courage to step back from a situation and evaluate it, and to refuse to do wrong. And that is the sort of courage the hijackers lacked. None of them had the moral courage to examine their beliefs, to consider whether murdering innocent people in the name of Islam could possibly be wrong.
The passengers on Flight 93 had both. They had the moral courage to accept their death and the physical courage to do what they could to avert a greater tragedy, even to the extent of attacking men who were armed and fully prepared to kill them.
I've been reading reactions around the 'sphere, and there have been a couple remarks here and there about some features of the movie. One is that one of the hijackers calls his wife or girlfriend to tell her he loves her just before he gets on the plane. I personally wasn't particularly touched by that, because I believe that love must be founded on mutual equality and respect to exist.
Another is that toward the end, the hijackers are repeating some prayers in, I assume, Arabic, and the camera cuts from them to a passenger who is also praying, then back to the hijackers. My first reaction was disgust at the idea of having something in common with a filthy murdering coward, but the juxtaposition also shows the contrast between fanaticism and faith.
Finally, I have never heard a theater so quiet. After the screen faded to black and the credits began rolling, the theater was still dead silent, and people began slowly exiting, still silent, still thoughtful. There were three boys in my row who I am certain were freshmen cadets, and I saw one of them wipe his eyes roughly with his sleeve as he left. He was just fourteen on that day.
You must go see this movie.
Update, 9:51 Sunday morning: Other reviews 'round the sphere.
AOSHQ: Review thread. Haven't seen a review from Ace himself just yet.
Dave in Texas: United 93. I just got back
Muslihoon: A Review of United 93 - Must-read.
Dave at Garfield Ridge: Movie Review: United 93 - Also very good.
Marchard Chronicles: Let's Role
Feel free to post links to your own in the comments.