Starring; Jeffrey Nordling, Ty Olsson, Brennan Elliott
Studio: Fox/A&E/MTI Video
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen
Audio: PCM stereo
Extras: Commentary track, Interviews, Theatrical trailer
Length: 90 minutes
Hard-hitting feature films about Vietnam came out within four years of the end of the war, and after nearly five after 9/11 it seems appropriate that some of the public at least could deal with a feature film on the intended hijacking of that fateful day that didn’t make it to its destination. In fact there are two other features on the subject and I understand United 93 is very well done, but I think it unlikely many people will be able to handle more than one tribute to the brave passengers and crew on that plane.
This one was the highest rated program in the history of the A & E cable channel. The story will be familiar to most viewers but going thru the horrors with those on the plane and loved ones at home may be tough going for some viewers – who may want to avoid the film altogether. The struggles for those in the air and on the ground to understand what was going on are stressed. When a call first comes to an emergency operator from a man on the fated plane she is shown rapidly going thru an emergency procedure loose leaf book searching for something to fit this horrific situation, but she finds nothing. Some of those on the ground had difficulty following their relatives’ urgings to notify proper authorities because this was such an unprecedented calamity.
Of course much of the action occurring on the plane is pure conjecture, but evidently the reason the passengers and remaining crew – led by a couple of the most courageous men – were able to discuss and plan their attack to bring down the plane was that all the terrorists but one were in the cockpit and the one outside was separated by a curtain between the first class and tourist areas. Plus the passengers had all been herded by the terrorists to the rear of the cabin. An opening scene shows closeups of the tickets of the primary players in the gripping drama as they are being checked in, so you have an awareness of the names involved. The film is a fitting tribute to those who took their lives into their own hands to stop the plane before it reached Washington D.C. – only 20 minutes away.
– John Sunier