Written and Directed by Paul Greengrass
On general release from 2nd June 2006
I am always wary about seeing a film that has been massively hyped up,
as has been the case with United 93. My caution was not misplaced. This
film - directed by noted British documentary maker Paul Greengrass (Bloody
Sunday) - added little to an understanding of what took place on the morning
of 11 September 2001.
United Airlines 93 - a Boeing 757 flying from New Jersey to Los Angeles
- was hi-jacked by four Arabic terrorists. After forcing their way into
the flight cockpit and murdering the two pilots, they somehow managed
to switch the direction of the plane to Washington.
In what was a ludicrous scene, one of them attached a photograph of the
White House to the steering wheel. This was presumably to remind him of
what it looked like before he rammed the plane with all its human cargo
into the building.
The sheer panic of a lot of the passengers as almost inevitable death
drew closer was convincing to a degree, but I could not escape the fact
that these were actors who were recreating what Greengrass speculated
occurred in that traumatic space of time.
The film includes non-actors, people who were involved in various airport
control towers when the four planes were hijacked almost simultaneously
on 9/11, and it showed. This was particularly so when the staff at an
airport in New York witnessed the two planes crashing into the twin towers.
Their reaction was very understated - almost 'Oh gosh! They are two of
One eminent film critic spoke about United 93 being a fitting memorial
to the passengers who averted the destruction of a national shrine. This
may be so, but first and foremost they were trying to avert their own