Three days before World Trade Center opens and here‘s L.A. Daily News critic Glenn Whipp raising the United 93 Oscar flag. Go, Glenn! Oliver Stone‘s film is a thoroughly decent 7.8 on the HE scale, but Paul Greengrass‘s film is far superior and deserves all the salute pieces it can get.
The only thing “off” is that Whipp quotes David Poland as saying that United 93 “was not a powerful emotional experience for most people, and, as the academy goes, emotion leads intellect every time.” Of course, United 93 was nothing but emotional. The very idea of seeing it, in fact, was so emotionally threatening that a lot of people didn’t. What Poland tried to say but couldn’t quite articulate is that United 93 wasn’t sufficently emotional in the right way.
In other words, Academy members wanted a warm and reassuring 9/11 flick and Greengrass didn’t provide their idea of that. The irony is that “warm and reassuring” is precisely what United 93 provides by reminding us that Joe Schmoe Americans are made of very tough stuff indeed, and because of this courage what happened on that flight was one of this country’s absolute finest hours.