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Movie Review

United 93

MPAA Rating: R for language, and some intense sequences of terror and violence

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama, Thriller, Historical
Length:
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
April 28, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

What about the Psalm 91 promises? (“…no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent…”) Answer

The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

What is Islam? an overview for Christians

Why should Christians love Muslims? Answer

Are most Muslims terrorists? Answer

Movie review: “World Trade Center”

Featuring: Meghan Heffern, Olivia Thirlby, Becky London, Ben Sliney, Cheyenne Jackson, Chip Zen, Chloe Sirene, Christian Clemenson, Corey Johnson, Daniel Sauli, David Alan Basche, Denny Dillon, Eric Redman, Gary Commock, Gregg Henry, Jamie Harding, JJ Johnson, Jodie Lynne McClintock, Joe Jamrog, John Rothman, Kate Jennings Grant, Khalid Abdalla, Leigh Zimmerman, Lewis Alsamari, Libby Morris, Liza Coloc-Zayas, Lorna Dallas, Marceline Hugot, Masato Kamo, Michael Bofshever, Michael J Reynolds, Nancy McDoniel, Omar Berdouni, Opal Alladin, Patrick St. Esprit, Peter Hermann, Peter Marinker, Polly Adams, Ray Charleson, Rebecca Schull, Richard Bekins, Simon Poland, Starla Benford, Susan Blommeart, Tara Hugo, Tom O’Rourke, Trieste Dunn, Trish Gates
Director: Paul Greengrass
Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lloyd Levin
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked. Three of them reached their target. This is the story of the fourth.”

April 28, 2006: As I pulled on my well worn 9/11 commemorative T-shirt and carefully pinned my “God Bless America” pin to my jacket, I wondered if anyone else attending the afternoon showing of “United 93” would do the same.

As I left the house I paused on the porch and gave a thoughtful gaze at the American flag that fluttered on our pole. I had placed it there the day of the terrorist attacks and after President Bush vowed a war on terrorism, I pledged not to take it down until every last troupe returned home. Five years now, and my Old Glory is faded and has weather worn holes, but she faithfully waves still in the Spring time sun.

Driving to the theater, I pondered the 40 passengers aboard flight 93 and their families. I also relived the shocking moments of that day, not really so long ago, when we all watched in horror as the New York Twin Towers collapsed under the strain of tangled metal taking with it in the flames of burning jetliner fuel, thousands of innocent victims.

At a stoplight I took Bible in hand and turned to Psalm 93. Perhaps within that number there would be some words to lead me today. From the King James He Spoke:

“The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.
Thy Throne is established of old… thou art everlasting… Thy testimonies are very sure: Holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, forever.”

Knowing I was attending the second “first showing” of “United 93” this day, I was curious as to how many went to see the “premier program” before me. The cashier informed me that the seats were at least half full then, and that this showing was filling rapidly. I took that as a good sign for the film, as it was in the afternoon of a work day. Not bad for that many to turn out before the evening performances.

I stood and waited as the viewers of the previous program filtered through the doors. I watched their faces and tried to see into their eyes. They quietly exited. Not one was talking. No tears. No discussion. No hint as to what I was about to see.

I took my usual seat, smack dab in the middle of the auditorium. Best seat in the house for a reviewer. It took five minutes for the house to fill up behind me. The first four rows of the theater were empty except for a few teenaged kids who love to sit that close anyway.

A hush fell over the crowd as the curtains rolled away and the screen faded in on the bustling activities of an early morning airport….and as you know, the rest, as they say, is history.

“United 93” is a largely speculative documentary style drama based on the events that took place aboard the fourth airliner hijacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001 ending in the crash into a Pennsylvania field. Set onboard flight 93 and also within the flight controller’s work spaces on the ground, along with the activity within a military ops center, the 93 minutes of realtime experience is both keenly gripping and tartly inspiring.

It is said that the 40 passengers on flight 93 sat down as strangers and stood up as one. It is true that a random collection of strangers realized the events taking place on the ground in the cities far beneath them, by cell phone correspondence with loved ones. With a threat of the destruction of the White House and possibly the life of our President, not to mention the fact that more innocent American lives could be lost, this collection of strangers faced their fate and came together to confront an unthinkable threat. We may never know exactly what transpired aboard flight 93 that morning, but “United 93” gives us the educated guess. Director Paul Greengrass has done his home work.

I could reel off the names of the 45 actors, but that would be very much beside the point; “United 93” has been cast for anonymity to keep it’s documentary feel, and except for John Rothman, the character actor playing passenger Edward Felt, there’s not a familiar face in the cast. A noteworthy addition is the casting of Ben Sliney, national operations manager for the FAA at Kennedy Airport and actually in charge of the FAA’s command center on 9/11, which makes the story even more compelling and accurate. This casting decision adds an eerie sense of realism.

Watching everyone onboard do what they can in the face of horrific fear and certain death—consoling, planning, encouraging, and praying—finally breaking into the cockpit amid a thicket of arms and hands to wrest control from the hijacker pilot, Ziad Jarrah (well done by Khalid Abdalla) was heart stopping. I was riveted to my seat and continued to feel goose bumps from the time I saw the north tower explode to the tragic and well known end.

I strongly urge parents to discuss the tragedy and heroism of September 11th’s events with their children. As Pearl Harbor and The Holocaust, this day should never be forgotten. Each generation has a duty to the next to pass down the horrible realities of religious fundamentalism, racial prejudice, bigotry, and genocide. Please put a real emphasis on the courage and heroism issues! The valor of these men and women in the grim face of death shows heroism above and beyond most human capability. It most assuredly resides within the spiritual.

In keeping with the discussion-only premise of terrorism paired with extreme religious ideology resulting in murder and/or genocide, discussion-only is where it should stay for children under age 16. They may see this film later, when they can deal with the emotional impact of human beings fighting for their lives. Talking about it and seeing it demonstrated right before your eyes are two very different things. The look of reality, some screaming, crying, stabbing and blood strewn over passengers and terrorist alike, although actors in character, will definitely be terrifying and will shatter the emotions of any child under age 16. No matter what age, the powerfully visceral images portrayed will haunt us all.

April 25, 2006: At the film’s premiere used for the fifth anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival (a festival that was created because of September 11th) the Ziegfeld theater, gave the family balcony seats. They made a connection with the actors with sobs and applause. FOX news columnist Roger Friedman explains why and whom it will haunt:

“…When the 93 minute movie ended—in silence, not an explosion—the people in the balcony sobbed in a way I have never heard before in a movie house.”

Mr. Friedman goes on to note, as many of us will, “…I don’t know if “United 93” has given them closure or permission to keep reliving the horror.”

God only knows, Mr. Friedman.

The language used is adult and based on the petrifying circumstances these individuals were under, explicatives like “he**” twice, “Jesus” (not used as a prayerful cry) thrice, and the f-word more than 7 times, might be expected but not excused for Christian movie goers who cannot condone such words.

As well may be known by the time you see this review, the film was screened and approved by surviving family members of the passengers aboard flight 93. Director Paul Greengrass deals with the material in a frank and realistic manner, but with sensitivity to the wounds that 9/11 has put upon them. It is gut-wrenching and convincing, but to me had one major flaw. “United 93” does not take us beyond the crash in that lonely field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It must allow moviegoers an appreciation of how terror was transformed into courage. It must answer the question, “Is it too soon?”

Although the film refers in a vague way to the decision to storm the cabin and take over the plane, it does not deal with the “why” of it. No conviction was shown as to the fortitude in the face of death these people courageously possessed to take down their oppressors because of the threat to innocent others on the ground. The much printed transcript of Todd Beamer (David Alan Basche) alone shows in his words the confidence he and the other three men, Mark Bingham (Cheyenne Jackson), Tom Burnett (Christian Clemensen) and Jeremy Glick (Peter Hermann as leader of the team to storm the cockpit) had in what they were about to do. Even though these four men are the most visible to the public, everyone on board was equal in a collective act of bold resistance to terrorism.

It must be noted that “United 93” in trying to define heroics has left out the most important part—to show the support of countless Americans to the sacrifice of the passengers on flight 93! They had a cause more Godly than the terrorist’s and their sacrifice for the lives of others should be duly noted and was not given a voice!

Paula Nacke Jacobs, sister of passenger Louis Nacke, contends the final scene carries the symbolic truth of collective intent. She says: “It was a group of hands. It wasn’t a face or a name. It was all, a group, doing it together.”

Writer/Director Paul Greengrass knows after intensive interviews with family members and telephone operators that cellphone calls to loved ones made them aware that two other planes controlled by terrorist had struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He says, “…93’s passengers were the first people to inhabit the (9/11 world) where the choices are ultimately harsh and bleak: Are we going to sit here and do nothing, or are we going to do something?” the filmmaker says. “And if so, what is it going to be, and what are the consequences? I think there is wisdom in that story for us today.”

Lourdes Lebron, whose sister was on flight 93, declares: “This is the movie to see—to be strong!” And she adds, “…it is never too soon.” in reference to if this film has come upon us too closely after the fact. In light of the current trial proceedings of confessed September 11th conspirator Mousauri, and in turn the transcripts of the flight 93 cockpit tapes being made public at this time, “United 93” seems even more relevant and the need to see it even sharper.

Dorothy Garcia, whose husband Andrew died on 93 that day, says the movie is overdue, “…because the heroism aboard flight 93 is sometimes obscured by the overwhelming tragedy of that day.”

Loads of expression has been put into print since 9/11 shook our country. Keeping in mind the collective impact, here is a poem written by Richard McMurray just one day after flight 93 and it’s courageous occupants met their God:

What man can say that when its time

He’ll find the strength of hero’s kind

When death he faces eye to eye

On skyjacked airship in the sky

I called to warn the world below

They’ve taken ’way the plane’s control

They’ve killed and hold us with a bomb

The threat: our lives end won’t be long

But you must know this is a plan

The New York Towers no longer stand!

Then stop them we must, though we’ll die

We four will end this plot on high!

They will not take this plane to task

Though strength from God I have to ask

My wife, my dear, my love you know

Now men we’re ready—I say “LET’S ROLL!”

Then four men rose to death defy

And took that plane down from the sky

And this one missed it’s target floor

America salutes you—HEROS FOUR!!

David Beamer, whose son Todd famously uttered the phrase “Let’s roll” before the battle against the terrorist hijackers, says he was gratified that Greengrass included Todd’s final prayer with the telephone operator—“Christianity and faith was a big part of Todd’s life,” his father says.

The script does underplay the “let’s roll” line. It’s whispered as Beamer hunches behind a seat trying to pump the others up for the confrontation. It is not a heroic battle cry and David Beamer is okay with that. He believes that the movie version may be closer to the way his son really said it: “(If he shouted it), that would have given the enemy a few more seconds to prepare.” The element of surprise was crucial to success.

“If we believe wholeheartedly, each moment, that our destiny rests in the hands of Jesus Christ—the one with ultimate love and ultimate power—what do we have to be concerned about? Of course, our humanity clouds the truth many times but hanging on to glimpses of it keeps everything in perspective.”—Lisa Beamer

Many people I spoke with after the film were extremely concerned with the “Allah” issue. That being that the terrorists were shown praying to God, but the passengers prayers to God were almost unintelligible. They knew that it was good for us to note that the hijackers truly believed (as all Islamic radicals do to this day) they were on a mission condoned and instructed by Allah (God), but the stark difference in the prayers uttered by the hostages were notably different in their spiritual themes and should have been audible because of the relevance to the viewer.

One man told me, “There’s gotta be something wrong when a man (meaning the hijackers) makes a prayer that God be with him, when he’s about to kill over 40 innocent people!” He also reminded all of us standing there that “…this didn’t start with September 11th, 2001, it started with the 52 American hostages taken way back in 1977.”

“The terrorists in contrast, were sending prayers up to God (Allah) to give them victory in destroying hundreds of lives (ref: “Thanks be to God, we are in control! The brothers have hit the target [ The Twin Towers ] Allah, I depend on you. On you I have given my faith!”), while the terrified passengers aboard flight 93 were sending prayers up to Heaven for God to protect their spirits and welcome them into His Kingdom.” Was another woman’s remark.

“Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”—Apostle Paul, Romans 8:35-36

Rosemary Dillard, who’s husband was a passenger on American Flight 77, wants us all to Remember it wasn’t just what terrorists did to her husband, but “…what they have done to the United States. Just remember that all of us are not the same person now because of 9/11. We have all changed because of this terrorist attack.”

“In the midst of the tragedy of [9/11] Jesus Christ came to walk over the chaos. The passengers of the plane that crashed outside Pittsburgh knew they were going to die, and they took a vote, which was unanimous, and rushed the terrorists to take the plane down before it could reach its target. They did better than Peter did when Jesus told him that he, too, could walk over chaos.” —The Rev. H. Dana Fearon III of the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, N.J. at a memorial ceremony the weekend after the attack.

Going out to the “United 93” Web site you will find a feature called “an inside look” where is posted comments by family members about the film. One in particular says it up front: “…40 passengers and crew were murdered aboard flight 93 as they participated in a revolt against terrorists intent on crashing their plane into our Nation’s Capital, fully understanding that their lives were forfeit. Those 40 individuals chose to fight and WIN THE FIRST VICTORY in our country’s war against terrorism!”

“It’s not about vengeance—it’s about justice. We are a nation of law. You can be a nation of law AND a compassionate nation at the same time.” — President George Bush, April 24, 2006.

“Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it.” — Pope John Paul II, at a service for the fallen of September 11, 2001.

Alice Ann Hoglan, Mother of Mark Bingham also believes we are a people of compassion: “We are all part of the human family. None of us is beyond redemption. Every soul that was lost on September 11th was beautiful and much loved… and much missed.” she goes on to say, “It gives me a lot of comfort knowing that Mark died engaged in a really brave effort.”

“All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.” — Psalm 31:24

I believe, as I wear proudly my perhaps outdated “God Bless America” button, that the 40 people upon United Flight 93 were hand picked by God to be there for each other and for Americans and as a shining tribute to our courage and resolve on September 11,2001. As I read back over the lives of all those who gave themselves to save many that day on flight 93, one thing shines true to all no matter what walk of life they came from, and that is character and compassion.

“Character creates courage. Courage is an outgrowth of who we are. Exterior supports may temporarily sustain, but only inward character creates courage.” — Max Lucado from “The Applause of Heaven”

I have taken the liberty to quote many people today, some famous some not so famous. It is my sincere belief that they all are passionate about their faith. And, speaking of passionate faith, I cannot help thinking that while the Islamic Radicals who hijacked United Flight 93 believed fiercely that there was strength in their death, I believe that for every person who gave up their lives that day—there is greater strength in sacrifice.

…and if I may quote just one more person…

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” Jesus Christ

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This film is really an outstanding, thought-provoking work of art. It is intense, but that is because the subject matter upon which it is based is intense. The film does not exploit the memory of the those that perished on United Flight 93, nor does it overly dramatize or sensationalize the roles of the brave souls in their fight to regain control of the doomed airliner.

There are so many parallels between the efforts of the enemy to hijack not only our planes, but our school boards, the entertainment industry and most importantly the national discourse on two very different competing worldviews, one biblical and one decidedly non-biblical. Its only when the heroes of United 93 realize that the hijackers are there to murder them and destroy national landmarks that they unite and literally overthrow the enemy, even at the expense of their own lives. God uses the weak and the small to overthrow the wicked and powerful, and this comes through in the film brilliantly.

All of the passengers are shown praying the Our Father, while the hijackers pray to their ultimately impersonal Allah. Guess who wins? This film hopefully will inspire its viewers to stand against evil and the seemingly monolithic anti-Judeo Christian thought-forms in all its countless forms and disguises.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Joel L. Pearce, age 41
Positive—I just came home from the movie theater after viewing this movie. In my mind this had to be the most realistic portrayal of the events on 9/11 that could have possibly been done by any director.

Of course, no one really knows the ins and outs of what was occurred on United 93 the morning of 9/11. But this film does an excellent job of presenting events in a plausible way while maintaining the dignity of everyone involved.

What struck me about the beginning of the film was how “normal” the terrorists appeared. No one “looked” at them strangely or “profiled” them. They passed for normal passengers. Which is quite disconcerting and I think most of us would have expected something else from a Hollywood director. We were helpless as a country on 9/11.

One theme that continually runs through the film was the FFA director continually asking for His “liaison” and not getting it. By the fourth or fifth time, some of us in the theater just threw up our arms in frustration. I wanted to stand up in the theater and yell “would someone please get the guy his military liaison for crying out loud.” We were feeling what the characters were feeling in the film. I felt like joining Todd Beamer and rushing the cockpit and yelling for everyone to get behind us. It was very powerful.

Another thing I came away from this film with was the idea that we need to get our “stuff” together as a country. We don’t communicate with each other well. Contrary to Michael Moore pointing fingers, there was nothing we could have done. This comes through in the film; it was not Bush’s fault. We were helpless as a country that morning. Even with all our technology, radar, security systems, satellite tracking, air marshals, F-16 fighter jets, it all failed. All of it. The one Christian theme that came out of this film was that in the end, good finally stopped evil one last time.

I am continually reminded in my head over and over again of the saying “evil prevails when good men stand by and do nothing.” What you have in this film are a group of courageous American men getting their “stuff” together, as it were, and deciding that they’ve had enough and did something about it. Thank God. Because it could have been worse.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Christopher, age 34
Positive—“Morally rating” this film is nonsense. It almost seems like it shouldn’t be rated by the MPAA, either. Having had family members and friends close to both attacks—my sister living only a short distance from the Pentagon, and would have been in the Capitol when United 93 was likely to have hit it—this film led me to sit in the emptied theater and cry. Sometimes, I don’t know what to think about the things God allows, how I can reconcile my own pain and that of others with my religion. But I do not doubt for a second that He had steered every courageous passenger and crew member onboard that plane to exactly where they needed to be on that morning.

This is a film that not everyone will have the strength to see. It’s not about how strong you are as a person or as a Christian, it’s about how willing you are to allow someone to pull the bandage off of an open wound, even if the only intent is to allow it to breathe and heal. I can say that Paul Greengrass handles it with reverence—most of the people on the ground actually play themselves, and those on the plane are played by unknown actors—and not once did I feel as if I was watching the sensational, melodramatic trash that was A&E’s film on the same topic. If you intend to see any of the upcoming movies on 9/11, you owe it to yourself to see this one first.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Peter Jurmu, age 20
Positive—“United 93” is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is a thoughtful, realistic, and intense portrayal of some of the events of 9/11/01 from several perspectives I had not considered. The families are treated with dignity, and the motives and actions of each of the characters are portrayed fairly. It is not for the faint of heart or the young. For the Christian in America, it is a wonderful opportunity to meditate on the meaning of Matthew 5:43-45, “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” I highly recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Charles Handren, age 39
Positive—I seldom choose to view a movie with extreme violence but I made an exception for this one. When I heard the movie was coming out I looked at the movie Web site for information to make the choice to go or not, and it was a go. No regrets. It is hard to be taken back to that day and time but I appreciate the glimpse into this tragically unique situation, to give honor to our passenger and crew heroes, and to build resolve to be ready and prepared for any unknown circumstance. The movie affirms so much of what is so good in Americans. This is not a movie for “entertainment” and people coming out of it were either teary or very sober. There is pride but great sadness at the wonderful lives lost. There is language in the film… it is realistic and seems not to be just unnecessarily added for effect.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Emily, age 59
Positive—“United 93” is a truly remarkable film. It takes no political sides and has no hidden agenda; it is powerful and moving. Words cannot really describe how good this film is. Caution: Not for the faint of heart. It’s somewhat bloody, and there is some profanity. I think anyone who can handle the subject matter should see it if they really want to.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Anthony, age 18
Positive—It’s hard to write a review on this kind of a movie. I can’t really say it was good or bad, in the same way I can’t really say The Passion of The Christ was good or bad. It’s too real for a simple movie rating. When the movie ended everyone filed out of their seats without saying a word. Overall, I thought the movie was very well made. At first I was a little concerned about how Hollywood-ized the movie would be. I was relieved to find what I thought was an accurate depiction of the events of 9/11. I was especially surprised and pleased that the film did not even show the ending crash of U93 or even the aftermath.

The uses of the f-word were a little too numerous for me, and I cringe whenever I hear the Lord’s name taken in vain. Without the language, the movie probably would have had a PG-13 rating. The only other problem I had was that much of the movie was filmed with hand-held cameras, making it a bumpy ride. I’m usually fine in movies, but even I got quite a bit of motion sickness.

The movie presented strong values of what is really important in life. I was moved to tears to see dozens of passengers making their final calls to their loved ones. Maybe saying “I love you” is something we all need to do a little more often.

Finally, it is movies like this that make me proud to stand up and say, “I’m an American.” We should never forget the amazing sacrifice that the men on flight U93 made for their country and the lives of others.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Luke Sackrison, age 18
Positive—There are some films that are just important for the world, and this is one of those. It ranks up there with “Shindler’s List”, “The Patriot”, “Saving Private Ryan”, and even James Cameron’s “Titanic”. They’re not created for entertainment, but as an examination of the human spirit in the face of horribly unpleasant circumstances.

“United 93” is an honest retelling of what happened on 9/11 in America. Yeah, it’s hard to watch, because we already know how it ends. Yet, at the same time it depicts the “fog of war” better than any documentary on the subject that I have yet seen. There’s no politics here, and there’s no fingerpointing—except where the finger should point, and that is at the terrorists who started it all. They are not portrayed sympathetically at all.

The passengers on Flight 93 saved the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. That is a pretty well-known fact. If their flight hadn’t been delayed by about a half-hour before takeoff, they would have not known about the other targets. They were America’s true first responders and America’s first heroes in the war on Islamic terrorism. Everyone needs to see this story, speculative as it may be, and remember what we’re up against. May God help us.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Carrie Rostollan, age 37
Positive—Everyone should see this film in honor of the crew and passengers, their families and everyone effected by the tragedy. The only negative I have is that the quick movements in the film making made me motion sick. At the finals moments of the film I found my self breathing hard and very tired. I had to take a few moments before I left the theatre. Someone in the restroom stated that she felt that she had rode a rollercoaster for an hour in half. Many women and men were crying. The group in the theatre (approx. 20) came in quiet and left after the movie even more silent, with eyes full of tears or tears streaming down their faces, no one talk until they were out of the room. It made me grow closer to God. It made me know that no matter what I face, I will not be alone.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Cathie Thorpe, age 50
Positive—I did not go see this film to be “entertained,” I went to obtain knowledge on how the unsuspecting passengers may have responded in this horrific ordeal. I also went to “honor” ALL involved; those who gave their life and those who were responsible for the safety of United 93. As the movie began to unfold, I was struck with awe at the magnitude in which the air traffic controllers’ experience the pressure of guiding an aircraft, can be overwhelming at times. Then, to intensify the situation with a hijacking, I can only imagine the adrenalin rush. But, the MIRACLE of remaining lucid enough to effectively communicate commands WHILE WATCHING the twin towers ordeal, this is a gift of God to be able to focus on the task at hand. To overcome the emotions that must have welled up inside and allow them to be effective in their jobs, staggers the mind.

The movie had the usual cussing and used the Lord’s Name a lot. I did’t like that at all, but with a movie of this ilk, I expected it.

I think people who care about our Nation NEED TO BE REMINDED of what happened on 911. This movie does it’s job and for that I am grateful.

The only draw back was the person in charge of the movie camera panned too fast and my stomach got queasy. I had to stop watching the film and just listen. (I have a strong stomach for this stuff, but it was constant, throughout most the film). Go see this. It’s worth seeing.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Tacey H., age 52
Positive—This movie was very well-done. I felt like I was on the plane myself. I thought I would be able to handle this movie, even though I was in the Pentagon on 9/11—but I could not handle it well at all. People need to be aware of the intensity of the movie before going to see it. I got violently ill three times during this movie—so I missed some of it, including the ending. But, I think it is important for our country to remember this. I hope we don’t decide it wasn’t that big a deal, or even that it never happened like some have the audacity to do with something as the Holocaust. It reminds us why we are at war—who our enemy is and how at any given moment our very lives may be required of us.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Marianne, age 43
Positive—I went to this movie not to be entertained but to learn more about what possibly happened on 9/11. One disappointment, I noticed with this movie… numerous times, they show the terrorists praying to give them strength, etc. It is almost an afterthought when they show the passengers or crew praying (…there is documented phone calls that this occurred). After the movie ended, everyone in the audience just sat quietly stunned, even though the ending was known. It was inspirational to see the passengers and crew sacrifice themselves to stop further destruction on the ground, etc. I wish the movie ended with the playing of our national anthem or other patriotic song, because the movie really portrayed good vs. evil and how we as a country, especially Christians need to band together to fight “evil.”
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Mike B, age 42
Positive—“United 93” was a very powerful and tense movie—possibly one of the best in those genres. From the time of the boarding of Flight 93 to it’s crash, it pulls you in and makes your heart race. One thing that helped in this movie, in my opinion, was that director Paul Greengrass chose unknown actors, so that many people would focus on the story itself, and not particular people that we know in Hollywood these days.

At the start of the movie, it was very interesting to see two of the hijackers of Flight 93 praying towards Mecca and one reading the Koran aloud. I think that this was a good way to begin something that would virtually change many people’s lives forever. When we see the passengers boarding the plane, we know already that they will never touch ground alive ever again. It is as if we already know that they are doomed to death and a very terrifying experience before their deaths.

The movie then gets down to business—with the first hijacking of Flight 11—which eventually disappears off the radar after going off course. We don’t need any reminder of where it went. From there, absolute chaos reigns, and we see it well in the air control terminals, the US military HQ and (eventually) on Flight 93 when it is hijacked. You could see well the shock that was registered when many people saw the second plane hurtle towards the southern building itself, and eventually hitting the building.

One thing that I also found very interesting was …when some of the passengers, probably realizing that they were doomed, started to recite the Lord’s Prayer. And at the same time, one of the Hijackers was praying as well. Odd that although they were on opposing sides, and yet they were both praying aloud (and coincidentally, at the same time, in different sections of the plane). An interesting point as to their beliefs in God and what they prayed for. We do not exactly know what the hijacker was saying, but we can probably guess as to what he was saying.

We don’t know exactly what happened on Flight 93, but Paul Greengrass has given us an insight as to what possibly (and more than likely) would have happened from the hijacking to the crash. I feel that this is a movie well done—to show unity and strength of the passengers of the doomed flight, and to show that they are heroes in fighting against terrorism and standing up as one.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Dave, age 20
Positive—…Perhaps the most moving part of the film is when the hostages, aware that they are unlikely to survive whatever happens, make final phone calls home to their families. The phrase “I love you” is tearfully uttered again and again, showing how, in a hate-inspired situation, God has placed love at the heart of man, as men and women are made in God’s image. The hate-fueled religious fanaticism of the hijackers is seen for the perversion it is—not by any point-making by Greengrass—but simply as the director allows the events to unfold.

One of the passengers on board United 93 that day was Todd Beamer, a married man with two young children and one on the way, who famously uttered the phrase “Let’s roll” before the final showdown with the terrorist hijackers. Todd’s father, David Beamer, says he was gratified that Greengrass included Todd’s final prayer with the telephone operator, because “Christianity and faith was a big part of Todd’s life.” “United 93” is a disturbing, gut-wrenching, but brilliantly-made film. Do go and see it for a glimpse of the first people to inhabit the post 9/11 world.

My Ratings: Average / 5
—D A Littlewood, age 58
Negative
Negative—Although I thought this movie was a good portrayal of what happened that day, I can’t recommend it. Not only was there bad language such as the F-word numerous times, but more upsetting was God’s name in vain being used on more than one occasion. Also, Jesus Christ’s name was being used in vain several time throughout the whole movie!

Regardless of the value of this movie, it doesn’t make it worth sitting through to hear such bad language. I would rather watch a documentary about it. Some of the men on the plane were said to be Christian, and while I do not know them personally, I doubt they would have been happy about this language being used in the film.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Brooke, age 23
Negative—I went to see this because my girlfriend has a brother in Iraq, and she really wanted to see it. I never wanted to see this film. I already know what happened that day. I don’t need pay to hear it again. The film made me depressed (everyone dies), and it made her angry… When the movie was over everyone filed out immediately—almost irreverently for the subject matter. I hung back trying to absorb and digest what I had just been force-fed. There was a girl in the row behind me sobbing into her hands. I don’t know here name, but I walked around to her and asked, “Do you need a hug?” And we both just held each other and cried into each other’s shoulders.

The language did not bother me. I’m glad they didn’t water down the realism. …words do not offend me. Sometimes in the thick of things, a swear word is the best option. It’s a release of anger and fear. I was offended by the mentality that this movie HAD to be made. It did NOT!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Pete, age 27
Positive—This is only the second film I have ever seen in the theater that has made me cry the first being “The Passion of The Christ”. Going in I knew part of the story and had a general idea of how it was going to end I still couldn’t help cheer the passengers trying to overtake the terrorists and gain back control of the plane. In terms of content this film was not that bad a couple of f-words and a few other swear words but overall the language is pretty tame for a R rated movie. Due to the violence and the intensity of the subject matter I would not recommend anyone under 13 seeing this movie. The Director Paul Greengrass did an excellent job on this film it is non-exploitive and handles the subject of 9-11 in a very tasteful manner. I highly recommend this film to anyone who can handle the intensity of the subject.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Daniel, age 24
Comments from young people
Positive—In my opinion this is a great recreation of the events of 9/11. As the name implies, it is mainly about flight United 93, but it also discusses some of the other flights involved in the events of 9/11. The film has no political slant and is (from what I know about the events) very accurate.

The only offensive material in the film is some of the language. Some uses are the f-word and other common profanities. But, given the situation of those on the ground and on the flights, it is really quite minor compared to the overall feel of the film. Many of the scenes are intense and at many time moving.

After watching I felt so proud to be American I could have shouted. The film stresses no religion as correct or incorrect, it simply shows the events for what they were. I strongly recommend the film to everyone!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—WSB, age 15