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United 93 (2006)

On one fateful day, a bunch of ordinary people did something extraordinary.

On one fateful day, a bunch of ordinary people did something extraordinary.

There are certain movies that should be watched, despite how hard it may be to sit through them. Movies like Schindler’s List (1993), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), The Passion of the Christ (2004), and Sophie’s Choice (1982) come to mind. United 93, which I still consider the best film of 2006, is truly one of those films.

We all know the story: On a Tuesday morning, four planes were hijacked and were to be crashed into largely populated landmarks on the east coast of the United States. One of those planes did not reach its destination. Director Paul Greengrass (who got a well deserved Oscar Nomination for the movie) pieces together what is learned from families, phone calls, etc, to put together a film of stunning power.

Another key element of the film is that there is no Hollywood stars. The only person I recognized (though not at the time) was Olivia Thirlby as one of the passengers (she would later be famous as the best friend in 2007’s Juno). It is done in real-time, and seems cast by such well acted unknowns that it is almost like the real people are playing themselves (and I don’t exclude the roles of the victims either).

Parents, I am aware the film is rated R (the subject matter is obviously scary and thematic). There is some swearing (a few F bombs), but I see this as a must see for anyone in middle school or above. We are at that point where some graduating High School are the youngest people who may remember what occured that horrible day (I myself was in 8th grade and was sitting down for English class when I was informed). It is also a film to show what real world heroism is. No super powers. No gimmicks. No space ships. Just everyday people who decided to be more than they were when they sat down. They were as brave and patriotic as any soldier on the battlefield.

They were United.

Overall: Five Stars *****

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