Harry has seen Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER...
Watching WORLD TRADE CENTER, I didn’t come away with any metaphors about what’s happening in our world today. It isn’t a subversive film with hidden agendas. There are no digs at that fearless leader that was/is running this country. There really isn’t any anger or hatred in the film, and at no point did I feel anger or hatred. In fact, there’s no mention of Al Qaeda, no mention of Islamic Fundamentalists. No blame assigned, none of that.
WORLD TRADE CENTER is about one of the downright scariest, most terrifying moments in U.S. History. It’s about men that wanted to help, but before they could help one single person, they found themselves beneath tons of rubble, in excruciating agony and torment… with little to no hope of survival. It is also about the utter helplessness of their wives waiting for word, unable to go to the scene, to aid in the search.
I should warn you, this is an intensely emotional film. There are very few moments of levity. At its heart – it’s a story of wading through despair and putting your faith in people you can’t see or know are coming. About staying awake through pain, of facing and resolving that you’re going to die, to find yourself alive… again. Of how Viggo Mortensen quotes from G.I. JANE are the most useful phrases in the world, when buried beneath tons of rubble.
I really didn’t want to see this film. I really had no hope for the movie. The trailers looked like a bad time. Let’s face it, we know the story. This event, that day, that place… it fucked up the whole world. It’s the foundation for why everything is so goddamn fucked up. I’m sick and fucking tired of 9/11 being invoked, because the rotten sons-a-bitches that put it on shields to hide behind and justify horrors after horrors… make me want to puke. The baggage of this series of events… it’s more than any movie can really hold.
Like many of you, I was awake and watching the gut-wrenching thing live. I sat there… in horror as the towers fell. Tears rolling down my face as two buildings that I never liked fell, because just looking at it, you knew… tens of thousands were dying. I’d seen Las Vegas casinos implode, but not with the idea that anyone was inside. This. This was a horrible memory, and honestly – I didn’t want to relive it at GROUND ZERO.
All of that said, there’s something amazing that happens watching this film. Well, especially watching this film clutched to someone you love. I highly recommend, if you see this film. See it with someone you can hold on to. Then pray to God you never have to go through anything like this with them in reality.
This isn’t the worst thing you’d ever have to face. There’s grimmer subjects. SOPHIE’S CHOICE comes to mind. The Holocaust. Cancer. AIDS. Watching your loved one die painfully. Ultimately, for the characters in this film… while the events were traumatically indescribable… they survived. 2, 749 died, this is the story about 2 of 20 that survived.
So, is that reaffirming? Is the film cathartic?
Yes. It felt good to leave that theater, to look into the face of the person I loved. Hugging her felt so good after this film. It’s hard to describe.
When the world ends in this film… When the first tower comes down – it’s… I can not describe the fury of it. The madness. Yet in that, “SKY IS FALLING” blink – the man, John McLoughlin, that Nicolas Cage is playing. He directed his men to run into the Elevator shaft area. He knew to do that. In that… bit of madness, he thought to direct his fellow men into the one place where there was a possibility of survival. The first collapsing of the building… was shocking. A fury. A maelstrom.
We stay with Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena and Jay Hernandez. There’s survival. Then the second tower fell. Mind you, they’ve NO IDEA what is happening. To them – this was the concourse collapsing. It was impossible for their minds to grasp what they were actually surviving. It is just… well… the end of the world.
The second tower falling experience just produced an eruption of tears and horror. It. It just, you can’t imagine. Stone doesn’t spare us the horror. I can’t imagine McLoughlin and Jimeno advising on this film. Of sitting down with Oliver Stone and going back in their minds to the moment and describing for him the nightmare… no, the reality that they experienced. This is as close as once can imagine the experience of SURVIVING being buried alive beneath the World Trade Center could be.
It’s a horror that no amount of reading CASK OF AMONTILLADO or PREMATURE BURIAL could ever bring you.
Why see the film? I know I’m not describing a good time here.
Well, through it all… there’s the hope that some fucking crazy ass marine… motivated by God and his deep spiritual sense of duty… will travel hundreds of miles to stand 20 feet above you, look through the rubble and hear you. The moment of discovery. I really can’t… I don’t… As I’m revisiting the moment in my mind here, tears are coming to my eyes – cuz it’s a moment of such release in the film. When you hear what that crazy looking marine apparently said to these two through the rubble… it feels so unbelievably pat, that it is joyous. So fucking amazing. It’s like the fucking Death Star exploded, like the cavalry arrived, like inevitable death could be cheated. That the possibility of survival wasn’t some clingy hope, but a reality.
It’s amazing. Just amazing. Easily one of the most joyous moments I’ve had in a film came when that Marine said what he said, and the look on Michael Pena’s Jimeno’s face. It’s just euphoric beyond anything you could imagine.
This isn’t an easy film for an audience to get through, but would you want it to be? In a world where helplessness and hopelessness continues to grab a hold of us as the whole world seems to be going mad, a film about hope, prayers answered and faith in your fellow man… that’s really something special, you should remember it. You should experience it.