Flight 93 (new film) --- Hollywood blockbuster disinfo campaign



'United 93': Are we ready?

Jim Emerson / March 30, 2006

The Tribeca Film Festival was started, the story has it, to help revitalize lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Others have said it was really Harvey Weinstein's own retaliatory attack on the New York Film Festival after it rejected "Amelie" -- but, whatever its origins, the Tribeca fest will open this year with the "United 93," based on what little is actually known about the plane that apparently went down in a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11 (although most of the evidence regarding what happened aboard the plane and what became of it has never seen the light of day).

"United 93," a Universal release, is directed by Paul Greengrass, probably the most gripping and stylistically accomplished action filmmaker in the world right now ("Bloody Sunday," "The Bourne Supremacy"). The screenplay may be mostly speculation (or outright fiction), but the movie is bound to be a terrifying, gut-wrenching, adrenaline-pumping experience.

At "The Hot Blog," David Poland wonders if it's too soon. "Is this an exploitation of the families," he asks, "or an important offering to the public that the families of the dead don’t feel that the story is exploitive?" Poland concludes: "It may be too soon for any 9/11 films in the eyes of New Yorkers who lived through the day in the city. I respect that feeling. But I don’t think taking swipes at Universal on this one is fair."

It may very well be too soon for some (especially the families), but not just for the reasons most people have been talking about. I was a defender of "JFK" back in 1991 (even though, by the time of "Natural Born Killers," Oliver Stone was a director whose sledgehammer touch and anything-for-an-effect sensibility I had come to despise) because I don't think anyone has a monopoly on history. Artists (even scam artists) have always been a part of interpreting history, and "JFK" was more an examination of the connect-the-fragments aesthetic of conspiracy thinking than a coherent conspiracy theory itself. It didn't posit any definitive answers; it was a kaleidoscope made of shards -- questions, half-truths, inconclusive facts, gaps in evidence, clashing testimony...

I don't expect "United 93" to look at the larger picture of what we know (and all we don't know) about what happened on 9/11, but my gut feeling is (and this is just my own speculation) that it may be too soon to Print the Legend. There are just too many open questions about Flight 93 and the rest of the events of that day -- not only unanswered questions but unacknowledged ones. The 9/11 Commission's report is so riddled with gaps it makes the Warren Commission's findings look airtight. And we know how solid and convincing that Official Version has turned out to be. But even the 9/11 Commission overturned one scenario that had already been enshrined in myth: from what was found on the black box recorders, the commission determined that the passengers were never able to get into the cockpit.

New York Magazine published a big story about 9/11 conspiracy theories last week, none of them any more convincing than the 9/11 Commission's, but at least some of them addressed anomalies and conflicts and questions the official report didn't even deign to account for.

And that's why I think it's too early for a movie about United Flight 93 -- unless, I suppose, it's simply presented as a speculative fiction "inspired by" real events -- or sticks only to what has actually been documented on tapes of calls from the plane, leaving the rest to the imagination. Unfortunately, too much of the information about Flight 93 is still being withheld from the public. Why? We don't know.
If anyone is interested in seeing the trailer on this film, it is here

The budget is estimated at $15 million (from IMDB.com)
and interestingly the filming commenced on 22/11 of 2005.

Finally, the message board at IMDB.com (search for United 93 or Flight 93; either will get you there) reveals that people are relatively clued-in as to how realistic & authentic this is likely to be. Comments include:

"The Racism will be incredible"
"This is like making a movie about the moon landing"
"This movie was a lie. Even to its core"
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