Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Based on the true story of two Port Authority policemen - John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center is a second studio production about the 9/11 tragedy, after Paul Greengrass' United 93.
Even after 5 years after the mind-blowing incident of the World Trade Center collapse, people still retain the memories of the chaos of destruction, the crashing planes, the terrible implosion of the twin towers, the people in the street rushing through chokes of smoke and debris and the bodies of innocent lives scattered around. Oliver Stone's World Trade Center invokes the terror and shock which the people who suffered would have felt.
He never shows the plane crashing into the twin towers. History unfolds from the movie as it happened on the ground, from the perspectives of ordinary men and women.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, an officer with the Port Authority Police Department named Will Jimeno (Michael Pena) was thinking of taking a leave and go for bow hunting, but finally decides to go to work. He along with Sergeant John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and their colleagues made their way to midtown Manhattan. A team of PAPD first responders drove from mid-town Manhattan to the World Trade Center. As the South Tower begins to collapse, the team stands in the concourse between the North and the South Towers stunned. As they saw something which seemed like a black tornado shoots in from the windows they ran for the cover of the elevator shaft and struggled to help the people who were struck inside the building. As the team, led by McLoughlin, went into the buildings, they got trapped.
Fortunately McLoughlin and Jimeno survived. They were buried and pinned beneath slabs of concrete and twisted metal, twenty feet below the rubble field. They couldn't see each other but were able to hear each other. Their bodies scratched with pain, Oliver shows a realistic picture with their blood stained faces filling most of the frame. The scene delivers a natural picture of two lives wrestling with impotence for survival.
They need to stay awake to be alive. So they croak and whisper in broken sentences about their families, their likes and their disappointments.
As McLoughlin and Jimeno were struggling for their lives, their spouses Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Maggie Gyllenhaal) kept praying for their husbands.
The sound of the imploding towers and the fear felt by the trapped officers as millions of tons of debris crashes around them makes the film a harrowing movie.
The movie tells a personal and intimate tale of the two cops. Through the story of the two cops, Stone has highlighted the courage and selflessness of the country. The scene when the first tower falls is breathtaking. The scene where one of the team members, Dominick Pezzulo (Jay Hernandez) is crushed by the second tower is heart braking.
The performances are remarkable. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives an outstanding performance as Jimeno's spouse who is pregnant makes us believe that it is really hard to decide what is best for you at the time of a crisis. The film also chronicles the incredible search by a indomitable accountant and ex-Marine from Connecticut, Dave Karnes Michael Shannon, who found the two officers that night, and then the dozens of firemen, policemen, and paramedics who rescued them over the next grueling 12 hours.
World Trade Center is an emotional, gut-wrenching film.
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jay Hernandez, Michael Shannon
Director: Oliver Stone
Producer: Debra Hill, Michael Shamberg, Moritz Borman, Stacey Sher
Writer: Andrea Berloff (based on the True Stories of John & Donna McLoughlin and William & Allison Jimeno)