World Trade Centre

 
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by:Andrea Berloff
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Hernandez, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
Released: October 5, 2006
Grade: B+

World Trade Centre is the second film in the last two months to have been based on the events of September 11, 2001.  Released back in August, United 93 was one of the best films of the year.  Thanks to the incredible sense of realism created by director Paul Greengrass, it grabbed me in its opening minutes and never let go.

Given my appreciation for United 93 and the similar subject material, I find it hard not to compare it against World Trade Centre.  When you look at them side by side, World Trade Centre is the Hollywood-ised version.  This isn’t a disrespectful comment.  My point is that whilst United 93 tried to tell its story in a documentary style, World Trade Centre tries to its story with big name stars and scripted dialogue.

Directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street, Born Of The Fourth Of July), World Trade Centre focuses on two Port Authority police officers who have become trapped under the debris of the fallen towers.  John McLoughlin (Cage) and Will Jimeno (Pena) freakishly managed to survive the initial implosion but their bodies have become pinned in the mass of metal and concrete.  Their cries for help cannot be heard and so they must painfully wait in the darkness to be rescued.

Told simultaneously are the stories of their two families.  John has a wife (Bello) and four children who sit anxiously by the phone and in front of the television waiting for any news.  In a similarly nervous state is Will’s pregnant wife (Gyllenhaal) who struggles to cope with the thought that she may never see him again.

John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno’s tale of survival may be hard to fathom but it really did happen.  Of those who were in the towers at the time they fell, just 20 survived.  John and Will were two of the last people to be rescued.  It’s inspiring to see their story on the big screen but I’ve found more interest reading their real-life interviews on the internet.  How incredibly lucky they were.

Watching the cinematic version, I felt a tingle down my spine as John and Will were pulled from their wreckage and taken to the hospital.  On the other hand, I felt bored watching much of the melodrama which led to this point.  United 93 did it much better.