World Trade Center

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(2006) ★★★½

Sky Movies Drama: Monday 20 July, 3.55pm

The world changed on September 11th 2001, and it took Hollywood five years to fully get to grips with this most challenging of subjects. Five years. A decent grieving period, perhaps. First up was United 93, a chilling account of the hijacked aircraft that didn’t reach its intended target, filmed by Englishman Paul Greengrass with the urgency of an impassioned documentary. It was rapturously received. When Oliver Stone announced he was taking on the Twin Towers, you could hear the sharp intake of breath. What would this famously pugnacious film-maker – the man who painted the White House purple in his passionate, partial accounts of US presidents Kennedy and Nixon, and who won Oscars for his abrasive Vietnam movies Platoon and Born on the Fouth of July – make of such a sensitive subject? The answer is surprising. Stone plays it safe and simple. By focusing on Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña, the two New York Port Authority policemen trapped 20ft beneath the rubble, Stone gives this historic tragedy a human face. In the fashion of an ordinary disaster picture, Cage and Peña’s struggle for survival is intercut with the hopes and prayers of their families. The difference, of course, is scale. It’s a shock to see the Twin Towers still standing when the story begins and – as the day’s events unfold – the news footage is as disturbing now as it was on that terribleTuesday. “Clearly,” says the lady on CNN, “something relatively devastating happening there.” Crushed by debris and choked by dust, Cage and Peña are lying right in the midst of it. With an understandably respectful tone and a moving piano and cello score by Craig Armstrong, this is Stone’s most emotional work since Born on the Fourth of July. Which is fitting.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 129min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Drama/Romance Tuesday, 28 July at 10:45PM