got 102 minutes?: families take centrestage in featurette

The 2-disc Special Edition of United 93 arrived a couple of days ago. Finally got the chance to watch the documentaries and here’s a capsule review:

 2-disc special edition

I had my heart set on this edition because I wanted to view the bonus documentary “Chasing Planes: Witnesses to 9/11”.  As it turns out, it wasn’t at all that special, neither did it contain extra information which watching the movie and reading the 9/11 Commission Report would have not sufficed.  While they did a good job acknowledging with candor the confusion and the breakdown in the ATC C&C cycle, it would have been better if they had included an exploration of how things have changed since 9/11 – if, indeed, it has.  That would have made for a much fuller and richer discussion.

By far, the gem was the featurette “United 93: The Families and the Film”.  Finally we get to see the surviving loved ones of Deora, Jeremy, Lauren, Debbie, Hilary, Louis, Richard, Alan and a couple of others, after having read about them in – among other works – Jere Longman’s Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back.  While Liz Glick seems the most composed of them all, there is a very palpable sense that for the others, 9/11 remains as raw today as it was on that day.  It was indeed an experience watching the heartfelt reactions of the actors who played the passengers as they get to meet the family members and hear first-hand about the people whom they had portrayed.  Watching them left me wondering if Lisa Beamer and Deena Burnett played any part in the making of the film, but you sort of are grateful that this gives the less-publicised family members a chance to air their stories.  Greengrass’ commentary on the film is potent yet understated – his take on the juxtaposition of modernity and medievalism in the story of 9/11 is one of Friedman’s running themes in The World is Flat (which deserves proper consideration in its own entry).  Overall, really worth my 77 bucks. 

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