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United 93 - the Movie - Thoughts
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 18:27:28 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Matt Murray <mattm () optonline net>
Date: April 29, 2006 9:23:30 PM EDT
To: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: United 93 - the Movie - Thoughts

Dear Prof. Farber,

Linda and Joe were members of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). One of the folks from the Club saw United 93 and wrote this note.

For IP if deemed worthy.

Matt Murray
(I did not write this note, the writer has wished to be kept anonymous)

United 93 - the Movie - Thoughts

My reaction to this movie surprised me. Like many others who I've heard talk about it, I came away with a very different set of feelings than I thought I would. Having brought a box of tissues in my purse expecting to be devastated, I only used four of them. The movie was so well done, and was such a riveting story that I found myself absorbed by the minute by minute unfolding of the events. The movie was a real time account of every moment of United 93, from the crew preparations, the people waiting at the gate, the delay in the takeoff, to that final black moment. But it was so much more than that.

The movie should be classified as an historical documentary, and in that sense will remain timeless. It takes you from the flight itself, to the Air Traffic Controllers (many who played themselves in the move) to NORAD and other military personnel (many who played themselves). It showed the scenes from the World Trade Center & Pentagon, but it showed them via TV screens and the binoculars of the Newark Air Traffic Controllers - just as they saw it. In that sense, you felt the same confusion as they did.

The movie was brilliant in that it puts the audience on board United 93. You are just another stranger. The producers intentionally did little character building, but yet in subtle ways captured the essence of the passengers. That was certainly true about Joe & Linda and from all that I've read, I could easily recognize the other passengers as well. There were a couple of very subtle little things in showing Joe & Linda that were so "them". It showed the roller coaster of emotions they went through, you heard verbatim their phone calls and you heard actual recordings of Air Traffic controllers. I understand now why the family members are so promoting and are so supportive of this movie.

The movie also showed the hijackers, how young they were and in the case of Jarrah (the pilot) they portrayed him as almost reluctant to do it. I've often wondered about that. In reading about him, he was engaged to be married, he was affluent, well educated and seemingly (according to his family) liked America. Right before he got on the plane he called his girlfriend to tell her he loved her. (The book "Among the Heroes goes into great detail about Jarrah). They prayed a lot and there was one extremely powerful scene where it showed everyone on the plane praying - the hijackers, the passengers and the crew. And you are left with the feeling - if everyone is praying, then why?? What turned these four young men into terrorists? It was subtle, put it was very powerful.

There was no one person or group of people that was singled out as being particularly heroic - everyone was. And that includes the head Air Traffic Control guy in Herndon, VA center who's first day it was on the job (I never knew that before) and who was utterly heroic in his response coordination. And the Air Controllers themselves who knew in their gut what was going on but were helpless to do anything. Or the guy from NORAD who desperately wanted to scramble airplanes when there were few to scramble. It showed all of that. And of course - the passengers - it showed their incredibly quick analysis, action and courage in dealing with the situation in the midst of the chaos and confusion and their effort to take back the cockpit. Right to that final black moment.

If you feel a sense of dread in seeing this move - don't. Go see it. Yes you will cry, yes it is intense, but you will also be in awe of what happened that day. You won't feel they way you expect to feel. It was brilliantly and respectfully done. (By the way - Joe & Linda were in seats 2A & 2B, directly behind Jarrah.)

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