‘World Trade Center’ Movie Review (2006)

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World Trade Center Movie ReviewI read a comment by someone somewhere saying, “Don’t want to ruin this for everyone, but this is a remake. I saw it on television five years ago with a lot of the deleted scenes and didn’t enjoy it too much then, not sure if I will this time.”

There is our problem. World Trade Center is not enjoyable. World Trade Center is a fantastic film, but it is not enjoyable. As a matter of fact it is so well done that it is an extremely painful cinematic experience. I am not sure if this is why any of us go to the Cineplex.

World Trade Center centers on the lives of two Port Authority policemen, John McLoughlin (Nic Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Peña). McLoughlin bravely led a group of policemen into the World Trade Center on September 11 and tragedy befell the group before they ever had a chance to help a soul. The buildings began to crash down around them and as a result all the members of the group died other than McLoughlin and Jimeno with McLoughlin trapped deep in the rubble and Jimeno beneath a giant concrete slab. This is the story of their plight as we follow their respective families’ reactions, the rescue effort and their conversations between each other as they fight to stay alive.

I am sure many other people will feel differently toward this film and the most commonly used phrase is sure to be, “too soon.” I can’t disagree with this sentiment. As I watched the film my throat balled up to the size of a softball on several occasions. This is not a film for people who cry at movies, because unless you are a cold-hearted individual it has the potential to leave you as an emotional wreck.

Being someone that does not enjoy Nicolas Cage as an actor I am a bit on the fence with his performance, there isn’t much this guy can do to impress me at this point. I have learned to deal with his style and I can say he neither hurt nor really helped this picture. What sold the emotional punch for me came from Michael Peña as Will Jimeno and Maggie Gyllenhaal who plays his pregnant wife Allison. There is no denying Peña is a fantastic actor, I am sure I don’t have to convince you Crash fans of that, and he really sells this one. He is the heart of the film and building on that is Maggie as she gives the performance of her career. Although she isn’t in the film a lot you will connect with her character’s pain as she is diminished to tears as word on her husband’s survival is very bleak.

This is a movie with few flaws and only a couple of Oliver Stone moments as he puts his political agenda on the back-burner and lets patriotism guide the way. I can’t call the film uplifting considering its tragic nature, and often times it is hard to watch as you bare witness to the fight to save two people’s lives as several others, seen or unseen, die around them.

Despite how well done this movie is, when asked what I thought I can only say, “It is a great film that I would never recommend to anyone.” It’s that simple. This movie really does come too soon, it hits hard for those of us that watched the towers fall. World Trade Center is simply a five year reunion of a wound that has still not fully healed.

GRADE: A-