Monday, September 24, 2007

United 93 by Paul Greengrass

Three recent films, United 93, Flight 93 and World Trade Center, deal with the September 11 tragedy as seen from the eyes of people involved in the disasters.

V Sanil from IIT Delhi forwarded me an interesting article by Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher-critic on the so-called non-political stance of these movies.,,1869546,00.html

I think Flight 93 and United 93 both succeeded in portraying the agony of humans facing a certain death when the victims have no understanding of the reasons for the drama unfolding before their eyes and when they are just caught up in the immediacy of self-preservation.

World Trade Center, on the other hand, is a mediocre attempt at portraying Americans as the professionals of the world. What is this US fetish with "professionals"? I think it is a very deep issue related to the lack of political power that a common citizen enjoys in the US. Because he is unable to anything to change the system, the most heroic thing he can do and command respect thereof, is to be great at what he does. Be a great pilot, a great fireman, a great cop, a beautiful woman....

And obviously, being great, being specialized to the exclusion of other things make others instantly appreciate your skills, but it also makes you a caricature.

Digressing a little bit...

Americans dream of a family as the goal of their pursuit of life liberty and happiness. And professionalism is the allged means. Strangely, it is the professionals who cannot hold their family together. The dimwits (Forrest Gump) do a great job at it (not related at all to Forrest's luck in the world). You can't worship both money, ambition AND have warm relationships.

Recommendation: Good.

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