(out of 5)
The very best historically-based dramas are the ones that manage to captivate your attention regardless of how well you know the events they portray. Paul Greengrass, who previously blew audiences out of their seats with his exceptional Bloody Sunday, turns to the events of September 11, 2001 and creates one of the most gut-wrenching, riveting, and, surprisingly non-exploitative docudramas ever made. Of the four planes that were hijacked on that infamous day, United 93 was the only one not to descend upon its target thanks to a sudden onrush of bravery from its passengers following the bloody takeover by radical Muslim extremists on board. Meanwhile, down on the ground, air traffic controllers and military officials are awash in mayhem following the now well-recorded events of the other three planes which tragically didn’t miss their goals. As with Bloody Sunday, Greengrass trusts his audience’s intelligence enough to avoid editorializing, deciding instead to allow the events to make political statements of their own. The superbly realistic acting and dialogue are so convincing that you’ll believe you’re watching the real thing…which will make its events all that much more uncomfortable to watch. Regardless of your feelings about the fallout in the post-September 11th world, this film is one that will strike a deep nerve, will move your soul and will leave an incredible impression.
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Screenplay by Paul Greengrass
Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd
Music by John Powell
Production Design by Dominic Watkins
Costume Design by Dinah Collin