It was only a matter of time before someone in Hollywood would dare to recreate the tragic events of September 11, 2001 for the big screen. That someone would be Oliver Stone. On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, his movie World Trade Center opened in theaters nationwide.
The story centers on Sergeant John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage)—who has already lived through the 1993 WTC bombing— and rookie William J. Jimeno (Michael Peña, in his finest performance to date), two Port Authority police officers who find themselves trapped under the rubble of the collapsed towers on 9/11 after attempting a rescue. The movie, which spans the 24 hours immediately following the events of 9/11 also shows what their wives Donna (Maria Bello) and Allison (Maggie Gyllenhaal) go through as they fear the worst and await news of their beloved.
For the most part, the movie was praised as an eloquent salute to— and accurate potrayal of— the lives directly affected on that day, the day that changed everything.
There is no shortage of feature films and documentaries that touch on 9/11, but here are some of our picks:
United 93 – from Paul Greengrass, the story of the fourth plane, a 757-200 that left Newark bound for San Francisco on Sept. 11. It crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, PA instead of its target—assumed to be either the Capitol or the White House— thanks to the heroics of some of its 37 passengers. Who can forget the phrase, “Let’s roll”?
The Hamburg Cell – a fictionalized account of the hijackers as they planned for the terrorist attacks from Germany.
The Oath – this documentary from director Laura Poitras (see also My Country, My Country) tells the story of two brothers, one who served as Osama bin Laden’s driver in Yemen, and the other who served as his bodyguard and is now a Guantanamo Bay detainee.
Fahrenheit 9/11 – Michael Moore’s take on the Bush administration’s response to—and manipulation of— the national tragedy.
Watch the trailer for World Trade Center below: