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Movie Review

World Trade Center

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense and emotional content, some disturbing images and language

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Drama, Based on Real Life Events, History
2 hr. 5 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 9, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount 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

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

What kind of world would you create? Answer

What is the Christian perspective on war? Answer

Movie review: United 93

Featuring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Brad William Henke, Patti D’Arbanville
Director: Oliver Stone
Producer: Moritz Borman, Chantal Feghali, Norman Golightly, Debra Hill, Donald J. Lee Jr., Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Oliver Stone
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“The world saw evil that day. Two men saw something else.”

My original review starts farther down the page. As I prepared my final draft this morning, my computer prompted me with several dire news alerts that sends chills up my spine!

Just a month away from our 9/11 anniversary and as “World Trade Center” readies for it’s first weekend release, the phantoms of terror-past prepared to reach our shores once again!

8-10-06 NEWS FLASH

“Footprint to al-Qaida”

LONDON Aug. 10: London’s anti-terrorist police say they foiled a plot to blow up airliners traveling to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage prompting intense security measures at Heathrow airport.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said British and U.S. authorities believe dozens of people—possibly as many as 50—were involved in a plot to blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S., from Heathrow Airport, which “had a footprint to al-Qaida back to it.”

“We believe that these arrests (in London) have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted,” said U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

In London, Britain’s Home Secretary John Reid said the alleged plot was “significant” and that terrorists aimed to “bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life.”

WASHINGTON Aug. 10, 2006: The administration raised the threat level for flights from Britain to “red,” designating a severe risk of terrorist attacks. All other flights, including all domestic flights in the United States, were put under an “orange,” alert—one step below the highest level.

Chertoff said the alleged plot appeared to be engineered by al-Qaida, the terrorist group that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attack against the United States.

More from a counterterrorism official familiar with the plan to blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S.:

  • The plan called for the flights to be blown up in-flight almost simultaneously, close enough so that flight controllers would not be able to ground planes, and far enough out in the Atlantic so that pilots would have no place to land.
  • The plan was to have the attacks carried out near the 9/11 anniversary, but apparently no specific date had been set for the attacks.
  • The attacks were planned for “up to 10 flights” on four airlines: Continental, United, American, and British Airways.
  • The loss of life was planned to be “comparable to the death toll of 9/11,” meaning close to 3,000 dead.
  • The attack was planned as a suicide mission.
  • The official said that there is “very good reason to believe that this is al-Qaida.”
—Robert Windrem, NBC News Investigative Producer

The national threat level in Britain was raised to critical today—a warning level that indicates the likelihood of an imminent terrorist attack. The threat rating was posted on the Web site of Britain’s MI5—the British domestic spy agency.

The Homeland Security Department devised the red alert system after the Sept. 11 attacks. The last time the U.S. government raised the terrorist risk here to orange, or high, was in July 2005 after the subway bombings in London. It was lowered to yellow a month later, the elevated risk status that has been the norm since the system was created.

Make no mistake and assume that the terrorists were happy with their results on September 11, 2001—they are out there still and wish more harm. May we all pray for our world today. Continue in prayers for peace. Never forget the harsh reality of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Every prayer list should have uppermost, the call for more Christians who won’t compromise, but who keep their convictions—God’s convictions—to care for one another, for our Country and humankind.

If anything, “World Trade Center” embodies the call to stand in the gap for a fellow human being. No matter what race or belief. Men and women not just in New York, but across our Nation and the world came together to help in every way imaginable the day the Towers fell.

PAPD cops reported that racial and ethnic differences melted away during the crisis. People fell into only two categories on September 11: those who needed help and those who offered it.

“World Trade Center” is based on the true life account of Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin, two Port Authority police officers who rushed into the burning World Trade Center on 9/11 to help rescue people, but became trapped themselves when the tower collapsed. A race against time ensued to find them and free them before their time ran out.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Sgt. John McLoughlin (an intense portrayal by Nicolas Cage) started his day early, before sunup, as all work days before this. His two hour drive into New York made his days long and his time away from his wife and four kids unavoidable.

William Jimeno (a totally believable Michael Peña), just nine months on the force, excitedly looked forward to any assignment. He had dreamed since childhood of being a policeman and serving the city of New York. When asked to volunteer to save lives after the Towers were hit, he was the first to step forward.

Dave Karnes (Michael Shannon) was not intending to be anywhere but at his job in Connecticut that morning, especially not New York, but God had different plans for this devoutly Christian ex-marine on 9/11.

These three lives came together in a miraculous way within the first 22 hours after the attack on the World Trade Center Towers.

When Tower One was first hit that morning, McLoughlin was actually nowhere near the World Trade Center. He was a few miles north, on duty at the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan. But like so many others, he and a busload of New York Policemen headed downtown to try to save lives.

After arriving at the scene, and unaware that both towers had now been hit, McLoughlin assembled a team of Port Authority officers: Antonio Rodrigues, Chris Amoroso, Dominick Pezullo, and a rookie named Will Jimeno.

There was no plan in place for a crisis this size. Even though McLoughlin was chosen because of his experience with the 1993 terrorist attacks on the WTC, this scope was too big for anyone to comprehend. Into the war zone that was the twin towers, laden with protective gear, went just these four brave men and their “Sarge” John McLoughlin.

Within minutes of entering the ground floor ready to evacuate hundreds, if not thousands, of people already injured or trapped, Tower Two collapsed around them.

Officers Amoroso and Rodrigues were killed immediately. McLoughlin and the other two men were trapped. But remarkably, one of them, Pezullo (Jay Hernandez), managed to dig himself out. He was trying to rescue his colleagues when there was another explosion. It was Tower One coming down. And Pezullo, who’d gotten free, was struck by a piece of concrete and killed. He fell near Jimeno, who talked to him before he died.

“He had just said that, ‘Remember, I tried to get you guys out,’” recalls Jimeno.

Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin, were the only ones of their group left alive (the last two to be rescued of only 19 people), buried in the center of the World Trade Center ruins, 30 feet below the surface. No water, unable to move, all contact through radio cut off, they presumed—waiting to die. Trying hard to bolster the other by talking about their families and hopes, keeping each other awake—hoping, praying to be found.

“It was just me and the sarge,” adds Jimeno, who remembers their determination to survive, and the pain of their lower bodies being crushed by the enormous weight.

Dave Karnes arrived dressed in his marine gear and ready to save lives, to do anything he could.

Building seven collapsed not long after he arrived. A marine standing close by made a comment about the dense smoke all around them, choking off the light of day. Karnes knew why and told the marine in no uncertain terms, “God made a curtain with the smoke—to shield us from what we’re not yet ready to see.”

It was now about 7 p.m., and Jimeno and McLoughlin had been trapped for roughly nine hours.

Karnes met up with a fellow marine named Thomas and they spent nearly an hour covering the smoke filled debris shouting, “United States Marines, if you can hear us, yell or tap!”

By 8 p.m.,Jimeno and McLoughlin had been buried more than 10 hours. That was when Jimeno heard voices. “It was two Marine reservists, and I begged them not to leave us,” says Jimeno. He heard Dave Karnes’ voice reassure them, “No, we’re not leavin’ ya! We’re Marines—you’re our mission!…”

“And soon after that, you know, the cavalry came,” remembers Jimeno.

We all already know the outline to this story. September 11 is still imbedded in our collective consciences. The Towers themselves hold thousands of different stories that can be told or fictionalized. As a “Titanic”-like opportunity for story after story to be gleaned for any and all play write or script writer for years to come. But, it’s the real stories that grip us the most. The true tales of people who are not famous, people just like us, who go to work each day to feed our families, have children, problems, personal joys, paychecks, bills and lives that are to the rest of the world, unremarkable.

“World Trade Center” is rife with actual footage of that day, which heightens the reality factor. The rescue is so authentic, you feel you are right there with the characters. It puts the audience in the middle of the turmoil, fear and pressures of the McLoughlin and Jimeno families caught in the grip of overwhelming uncertainty and sorrow.

From the Web site:

Stone never saw “World Trade Center” as a political film, but as an intensely human story. “Although my politics and John and Will’s may be different, it didn’t matter; we all got along. I can make a movie about them and their experiences because they went through something that I can understand. Politics does not enter into it—it’s about courage and survival.”

“If you watch “Platoon” or “Born on the Fourth of July”, you know that Oliver understands men in groups trying to give their best and serve their country,” says Producer Michael Shamberg. “Initially, I saw this film as the biggest canvas we could work on because everyone has an emotional connection to this material—everyone remembers that day. But Oliver sees it as a small, intimate story, which is a fascinating take on the material and completely correct. In looking at the story of John and Will that way, it isn’t a flat retelling of 9/11; the film, for me, weaves reality with spirituality.”

“Two men in that hole, in the darkest hours of their lives, hardly knowing each other, bonded together through the fire of their experience,” says Stone. “On a day when we came so close to losing faith in humanity, they helped give that faith back to us.”

McLoughlin and Jimeno consider these men the real heroes of their story:

“The rescue workers who came in after us and risked their lives to get Will and me out, these are all people who have families of their own,” says McLoughlin. “Will and I had to face death, but we didn’t have a choice; it was thrust upon us. These men knowingly faced death, crawling over that rubble pile, crawling into that hole that held us, when a shift of that debris field would have crushed them. They displayed incredible courage, risking their lives just to get two guys out.”

The first men to find McLoughlin and Jimeno were two errant Marines. Staff Sergeant Dave Karnes, in particular, was on a true mission. At the time, Karnes was an accountant; on 9/11, like so many others, he watched the World Trade Center tragedy unfold on television. Karnes, a deeply religious man, felt a personal calling to help and saw this as a mission given him by his God. He returned to full Marine mode, stopping at a barbershop to have his hair buzzcut, donning his fatigues, and racing to Ground Zero. Though police and National Guard had erected barricades barring people from getting close to the disaster, the steely Marine, without official permission, made his way through regardless. As the night closed out official rescue efforts, Karnes, in an extraordinary effort, got himself, with help from another mysterious Marine (named Thomas), into the treacherous rubble pile and began searching for survivors. Against all odds, they located McLoughlin and Jimeno.”

As rescue workers Strauss, McGee, and Sereika struggled to free Jimeno, firemen attempted to contain the flames beneath them. One of them, Tommy Asher, played himself in the film and recreated a particularly vexing problem: the serrated debris kept perforating the hoses, cutting off the water supply.

After close to 12 hours and the tireless efforts of a crew of firemen, cops, and ESU workers, both Jimeno and McLoughlin were pulled out of the pile. One of the real firemen integrally involved in McLoughlin’s rescue, Scott Fox, also plays himself.

In all, over 50 real-life PAPD, NYPD, and FDNY members who were at Ground Zero came to Los Angeles to appear in the film. In the end, all the prominent police and fireman extras in the film would be played by these real-life heroes.

There are sparse profanities uttered, I counted only five in all. Not too bad for a film full of New York Policemen and Marines. Rated PG-13 is right for intense, and graphic peril and violence, terrorist attacks, suicide, including deaths.

What impressed me was that the references to faith and to Jesus Himself which out shown any bad language I heard. And, since these events depicted are from real life, it shows me that we are genuinely “prayers” more than “cussers” (unlike what some Hollywood films would like you to believe).

Will Jimeno had visions of Jesus handing them water, and I commend Oliver Stone for showing that matter-of-factly, just as Will described it. When the pain and fear was too much for these men, they did not swear at The Almighty, but instead screamed the 23rd Psalm. Dave Karnes was shown in a church discussing with his pastor the reasons he had to go to New York, the cross of Jesus clearly shown as a source of strength and not one of scorn. He incontestably said he was compelled to go by God, and His voice was the only voice he would answer to. Bravo to Dave Karnes and to Oliver Stone for not shrinking from this very pivotal fact and the truth of this story!

Here lies the power in Oliver Stone’s vision. No pretenses. It is not too soon. It is what we need. We must accept and relate to this film. We need it now more than ever, in light of current world events. We must dig deep for the passions that filled us on September 11, 2001. We must get back the fierce bravery we embraced when terrorists struck our shores and fight back again! And keep fighting back, for our country and all those oppressed by the bullies of this world!

Franklin Graham describes that day in his book The Name, as such:

“The extent of the devastation was greater than the loss at Pearl Harbor. I knew the nation would soon be at war against evil. Not that we would do so to seek revenge, but to defend our very way of life. For too long Americans had seemed immune while France, Israel, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, and Great Britain experienced terrorism. Now our own shores had been attacked in an attempt to destroy the heart of what our nation represents: economic, personal, and—above all—religious freedom.

Considering our opponents—individuals said to represent Islam—I knew a war driven by religious passions would not be as quick and direct as the Gulf War. I knew that this cowardly attack had at its heart spiritual implications that would take this nation months, if not years, to understand. This war was really just another in a long history of battles related to the name of The Lord Jesus Christ.”

“We live in a world filled with evil and contaminated by sin. Although we are shocked by tragedies, despicable and heinous acts should not surprise us as much as they do. Without the redeeming power of God, the human heart is a sewer of sinful desires and schemes. As Jesus once said, “A good man out of the good treasures of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

As scripture teaches, God can take the most difficult trials in life and use them for good. The terrorists struck at America on behalf of their ‘god.’ They had intended evil. But God Almighty used this tragic event to send healing and comfort through the good News of His Son throughout the world.”

—Graham acknowledging Almighty God, Memorial Service, Washington, D.C., 10 a.m., September 14, 2001

From The US Department of State, Victims and Heros of September 11 Web site:

“September 11 created a new generation of heroes for America and the world. They came from diverse cultures, and many from faraway lands, but on September 11—whether they perished in the attacks or bore witness—all were victims and each was a hero. From Pakistan, India, China and Nigeria, their stories are remarkably the same. A human being, not a nationality, saw strangers in need, and in many cases risked—and gave—their own life in order to save another. The global heroes of September 11 spoke different languages, but shared a common humanity.

An estimated 2,830 people died or are missing in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center. Ninety-eight percent of those victims were at work, and the youngest was only 2 ½ years old. One in six—494—are reportedly either foreigners or Americans with dual citizenship, hailing from more than 90 countries. In the attack on the Pentagon, 189 were killed, and in a field in Pennsylvania, another 45 died when their plane plummeted to Earth due to the efforts of a small group of heroes who wanted to avert another crash into a building full of people.

Whether they were in New York, Virginia or Pennsylvania, the victims and heroes of September 11 represent the diversity that is America and the world.”

Go out, see “World Trade Center” more than once. Show your support. Get copies of this film to share with children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, so they will never forget 9/11… never forget… Never Forget!

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

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

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—Very well made, heart-wrenching, edge of your seat movie. Although we know how this turns out, this gives us yet another perspective, that of the brave Port Authority Police Dept. cops. The character development among the wives and families of the victims is brief, yet well done. I found myself wanting to know more about these incredible, yet ordinary people. Touches on spiritual themes such as self-sacrifice, perseverance, courage, love, and hope.

Being from the New York/New Jersey, I appreciated the the authentic “accents” of the people, even though many of the actors were not from there. There is some foul language, but not much. The crash and collapsing scenes are amazing and seem realistic. Not for the faint of heart, yet not at all over done. I would recommend this movie very highly.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Richard, age 40
Positive—Wow! I never expected a movie such as this from Oliver Stone. I was hesitant to view this film as I am a born and bred New Yorker who works a few short blocks from where the Towers once stood. Only after reviewing the comments left on this board did I decide to watch it. Stone focuses on the two firemen that were the 18th and 19th person pulled from the wreckage. I believe a movie about the 20th victim and/or footnote about her should have been added. Her name was Genelle Guzman McMillan and her miraculous story and her miracle needed to be told. She is now a devout Christian and believes God and an angel saved her that day. I was disappointed it was never mentioned. The movie is played down with a definite sensitivity to the victim’s families. Although, frankly it did not show the full scope of the absolute horror of that day. Showing one person falling to the death misses the point that tragically many, many more people did die that way. It also misses it in many other areas as well, but I believe this was never Stone’s intention. The movie does draw you in and Nicholas Cage did a subtle yet powerful performance. The acting was superb. The collapse scene chilled me to the bone. On a positive note the movie does show something you NEVER see in movies; people actually praying, others being directed by God through pray, and even a vision of Jesus by one of the trapped fireman. The reason Stone did this is because this IS what actually happened to them and this is what they experienced. A movie that shows real life; bravery AND faith. Stone succeeds in showing the human triumph of a day filled with horror, and thankfully shows faith in the midst.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Laura, age 30
Positive—…I am proud of those who had a hand in creating the realism of that morning in the life of two Port Authority officers and their families. I did have my concerns that there would be an attempt at some political agenda by Oliver Stone, but I think that he used a lot of integrity in keeping the focus on the characters and the reality of what they were going through. There is a Christian Marine that I am so glad that they put in the movie who listened to the Lord and was used mightily.

There is some harsh language, not as much as I thought they would have, but they do use the Lord’s name in vain and Nicolas Cage drops the F bomb at least once. Also, there is a portrayal of Jesus in a vision that may or may not offend some christians. I believe this movie reminds the world of that day and the effects it had on real people and their families. I am glad that I had a chance to see it and hope that it will help people to remember and never forget.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Holly Cochrane, age 30
Positive—I went to see WTC today and I was really impressed that for once, Hollywood did not use other people’s tragedy to make some money. I remember thinking at one point in the film that it was dragging a little bit, but I then realized that it was because the producers of the movie decided not to make a summer blockbuster, with the emphasis on great special effects and action, but the emphasis being on the people that lived through one of the most horrible and terrifying events imaginable. Most of us watched the events unfold at a safe distance, but this film shows what the extraordinarily brave men went through us close. Nicholas Cage turned in a brilliant performance that didn’t even feel like a performance. I kept thinking of the scripture where we are told that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. This is what this movie was really about, honoring those who were willing to do just that. America saw great evil that day, but the loving kindness shown by the people depicted in the film and countless others gave hope and strength to a nation in shock. If we could draw on the power of Jesus living in us to love our neighbor as ourselves in everyday life and not just in times of crisis, perhaps a dying world will turn and cry out for the One who gave all so that they might live.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Jennifer, age 29
Positive—I recently saw the film, “World Trade Center”. Police and fireman were invited to a special screening by Paramount studios. I can’t begin to stress enough, you have to see this movie. There’s no politics anywhere to be seen. The military is shown with the utmost respect as is religion believe it or not, considering the film’s director, Oliver Stone. Don’t let Mr. Stone’s name fool you here.

A US marine is seen in church staring at the Cross which spurns him into action to be a part of the rescue effort with positive results. There are more references to Jesus in this film which I will not spoil. I highly recommend you see this movie while it is still in theaters. A must see. Big time!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Eric, age 37
Positive—This was a movie with some great performances, especially by Nick Cage. The movie in itself I thought was good, but not all that exciting. The plot everyone knows, the action very minimal. It’s not really what I expected. The movie is really about the heroes of 911. It really shows how the city came together to help each other out in a time of crisis. It also has some Christian themes to it. Overall, it seemed like a movie of the week for television, but it was a great story and had great acting.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Scott, age 32
Positive—…a very powerful movie. I was very pleased with the strong message of faith portrayed in this movie. Some movies when dealing with faith beat around the bush by talking about a higher being. This movie portrays the main characters trapped having faith in Jesus. There are a few swear words scattered throughout the movie, and obviously there is a lot of death portrayed; however, it was not overwhelming, and for the most part not too graphic. I believe this is an important movie to see.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Mike B, age 42
Positive—This movie was excellent. It really brought back a lot of memories of 9/11. Americans have forgotten that we are at war, and this movie will help remind people that we were attacked on our own soil. The movie was very well made and only had a few curse words (which really surprised me). I would definitely recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Diana Harton, age 44
Positive—My husband and I found this movie to be a well made movie and found it thought-provoking and emotionally stirring. It reminded us that good can come out of bad. That despite the horror and evil, people served each other. It is what Christianity is all about—to lay one’s life down for a friend.

I thought that the image of Jesus, was not offensive at all—a bit Catholic for an Evangelical me, but Jimeno was it seemed Catholic (mother prayed rosary for him), and if that is how he saw Jesus, who are we to say that is not what he “saw?” The bottle of water in Christ’s hands—humorous at a first glance, but look deeper—it is a reminder that in the times when we are so dry, when we are so parched for the living water, when we are trapped beneath the weight of sin, by boulders and rocks and the fires of hell surround us that HE ALONE HOLDS THE BOTTLE!!!… ONLY He can satisfy our thirst! He is the only well from which LIVING water can be drawn!

What I came away with: Let us never forget that just because we kiss our spouses goodbye in the morning that we will kiss them goodnight when we go to bed. The time between here and eternity is quicker than a snap of a finger. Will your words remembered by your loved ones be ones of encouragement or of sorrow, will you leave all in peace if you were to leave Earth today or in turmoil? and most of all, will you hear those words we all long to hear, “well done my good and faithful servant; welcome into the house of your Lord.” Do you KNOW Jesus? Not know OF Him or ABOUT Him, but do you KNOW HIM? Is He your BEST friend?

Be blessed and love your husbands, wives, children, family and friends with a genuine love as if it were the last day you spent with them on Earth. Because eternity is just a moment away.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Claire Guthrie, age 36
Positive—This was an outstanding movie. Most movies I watch have a part or two that makes me wonder, “When is this thing going to be over?” “World Trade Center” had NONE of that. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was one nightmare after another, and so intense. Every time those poor men were rocked by yet another explosion or collapse, I could feel my heart pounding. This is NOT a movie for children.

There is some profanity. The f-word was used once, and some other swears were used, but the amount was minimal. The men’s faith in Jesus was portrayed very nicely. The Marine deciding that God was calling him was a very moving moment for me. I was glad they didn’t try to hide the fact that these men were Christian. Perhaps the best part of the movie was seeing so many people working together for the common good. I can’t remember what exactly was said at the end, but it was something about knowing what good people are capable of. I believe that from the bottom of my heart, and I think God for blessing us with the need to help other people.

There is no reason for a Christian to not see this movie. Parental discretion is advised, but it would be a good movie to show to one’s children when they are old enough. It was a wonderful film, and I am sure it will be extremely successful.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Rachael, age 20
Positive—What a GREAT film. I didn’t want to see “World Trade Center,” telling myself it would be boring and overlong, when really I just wasn’t sure I wanted to spend two hours watching 9/11 again. After watching it, I have to say it’s one of the best movies of the year, I have yet to see “United 93,” which is supposed to be better, and I’m looking forward to it now. WTC tells the story of two NYC Port Authority cops who become trapped in an elevator shaft between the two towers on 9/11/01. Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña both give excellent performances as John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno. I felt for their charcters and their families. WTC pays tribut to the victems of 9/11 but also honors the people who helped rescue people trapped in the rubble. It may play it a little safe, compared to most of Oliver Stone’s pictures, but it’s an amazing, emotional picture nonetheless.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Caleb, age 34
Positive—There are a million and one stories that could be told about that day, all as compelling and gripping and heart-wrenching as this one. I’m glad Oliver Stone chose to zero in on this particular story and perspective of 2 port authority police. The contrast between the “ordinary lives” and the horrific, extraordinary event is always with you in the movie. The sounds and noises of the collapse of the buildings while the men are under them is done incredibly well and really makes you think about that one aspect of the tradgedy much more deeply. Unfortuantely, there are at least two times the Lord’s name is taken in vain. This almost ruins any movie for me, and I’ve often walked out as soon as it’s in the dialog—it’s toward the end and brief, so I stuck it out (others beware). I cried almost the entire movie, because you can feel the weight on the family members at all times, another thing well-done by Stone. There is 0 political implication in the film, so politically correct people should not have a word to complain about. Jesus in the film is show in a vision and that is awesome, because He’s the one who showed up! All America should see this film, we need to never forget and keep praying for this nation.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Gretchen, age 42
Positive—I had no plans to see the “World Trade Center” when I first saw the commercials. I was living in New York City at that time, and the day of the attack was the first Tuesday of my seminary experience. It was too close to home and too painful; I did not want to touch. I did not think that it was the right time to make this movie. However, my youth group, wiser beyond their years, said they wanted to go. So we went. I was glad we did. We saw families supporting each other; we saw people answering God’s call to them; we saw people testifying to their faith and what gave them strength. And where did the strength come from? From God, from family, and from friendship.

I strongly recommend going to this movie with others and planning some time afterwards to talk about what happened. Not only what happened in the movie, but what happened in our lives on September 11, 2001. The consequences of that day continue to ripple through out lives and through the lives of our young people. Also, do stay for the credits. They list the name of the rescue workers who died that day. I was glad to read that many of the extras in the actual rescue line were New York City first responders. They lost a lot on that day. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—The Rev. Cori Olson, age 48
Neutral—I …had a mixed reaction. It is not a great movie, like “United 93”, which came out earlier this year. WTC is a well made bit of Hollywood schmaltz. Which is fine, and the material here is very respectful of the genuine heroism displayed by these real life characters (who do not feel at all like real life characters, because they are portrayed by huge stars like Nic Cage, and very familiar character actors like Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal).

The most interesting element of the movie, is the restrained direction by Oliver Stone. Here is one of the most provocative American directors of our time, going as red, white, and blue as he possibly can. At times this approach works, at others it does not. It certainly works with respect to the characters in the film who are missing their loved ones. However, the only image of President Bush is on a TV, a soundbyte of him at a military speech, spouting rhetoric about Americans rising above and avenging this tragedy. The clip produced a prolonged hiss from many audience members in the screening I attended, I expect, because of the “war president” context of 2006 as opposed to September 11, 2001. Anyway, some of the imagery felt like it was selected by Ken Mehlman, and that was unfortunate to the overall experience of the film.

Overall, the movie is just too Hollywood, and does not have the visceral impact that “United 93” did. That was the truly great piece of art that cinema has produced re: 9/11. WTC is more like “The DaVinci Code” was earlier this summer. Well made, but unnecessary.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Peter Davis, age 36
Comments from young people
Positive—Forget “Glory Road” and forget “Over the Hedge,” World Trade Center is the best movie of 2006. In fact, it’s the best movie since “The Passion of the Christ.” It’s not the most entertaining movie of the year, but movies like this aren’t meant to be entertaining. This movie’s goal is to tell you about certain events that took place on 9/11 that you may not have known about before. One of the lines in the movie pretty much sums up the purpose. It says, “9/11 showed us what humans are capable of. The bad, yeah sure. But it also showed us the good that we forgot could exist. People helped each other for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. We need to remember that goodness.”

The movie does a fantastic job of trying to capture the emotion of that day. The emotions of those who were trapped, those who wanted to find them, the families of Jimeno and McLoughlin, the families of those who were at the WTC on 9/11, and the emotions of many others are captured rather well in this movie (that’s one of the reasons why it’s not meant to be entertaining).

Other than the capturing of emotions, I liked the fact that Oliver Stone toned himself down. I’ve seen his movies “JFK” and “Natural Born Killers,” and they both have too much offensive content to keep track of. But Oliver Stone only wants to give us a story of things that happened on 9/11 and didn’t feel the need to inject too much profanity into the movie. Now, there is some profanity, but it’s not meant for gratuitous means or for shock value. It is only used to further capture the emotions of that day (although I would’ve preferred there to have been no profanity). Other than profanity, there is no objectionable content in this movie. I liked the fact that Stone restrained himself and didn’t pour objectionable content all over the place in this movie.

Another thing I enjoyed was that Stone featured Christian content. For example, he put the vision Jimeno had of Jesus into the movie at points where it saved him from falling asleep and possibly never waking up. He also noted the important fact that one of the Marines who found Jimeno and McLoughlin was a Christian who felt compelled by Christ to go to the WTC ruins to rescue those trapped under the ruins. When debris was falling, McLoughlin didn’t scream out curses at God, but instead screamed out the Lord’s Prayer. I appreciate that Stone featured such content.

This movie also promoted great character traits. The policemen and firemen who went into the building risked their lives to save others strictly because it was the right thing to do. The Marines and the many policemen and firemen who came to save those trapped under the rubble risked also getting trapped or getting killed by falling debris. At one point, Jimeno requests that his leg be cut off so that they can get to his partner.

Overall, WTC is a terrific movie to go see. I recommend it with no reservations to those 13 and older. Make sure you don’t forget the great miraculous things like this that happened on the day of 9/11. Even on days of disaster, God works great miracles. Don’t forget that the events that happened on that day ultimately worked and still work for good (Romans 8:28).
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Ross, age 16
Neutral—This movie was definitely a higher PG-13 movie. It is extremely emotional. It was also, very graphic, and violent. While, I enjoyed the movie, and though it was very well made, it was VERY hard to handle. I went to see it with my friend, and we both left bawling. It really gives a good view of what really happened on 9/11. But, unlike I thought, it was centered around 2 policemen and their families, not on the events of September 11th. Keep in mind when going to see this movie it is rated PG-13 for a reason (mostly for graphic images, and language). I would NOT recommend this film to anyone 14 and younger, and only to mature older teens, and adults.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Abba, age 15
Positive—It was a good clean film, except for a few swear words. It tells of all the men and women who died from the attack. It made me cry a little and was heartwarmingly sad.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Jerah Ward, age 14
Positive—Last year my family and I saw this movie in theaters, and we really loved it. It is refreshing to see Nicholas Cage play in this movie as such a strong Christian since just about all his other movies are so filthy. “National Treasure” is an exception. This was obviously his best film. The violence in this movie is very minimal, and I don’t remember hearing hardly any offensive language. There is not any sexual content at all. Believe me, this in not a waste of time.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Joseph Hughey, age 13