I have spotted United 93 in the DVD shelves of my local library several times. But I had always been hesitant to pick it up - I knew the ending, it was sad - what was the point?
Nevertheless, two weeks ago, I persuaded myself to borrow it. I am glad I did. This movie is one of the most hard-hitting movies I have ever seen. The director has shown the sequence of events on 9/11/2001 which throws ordinary people into an extraordinary situation. Which is partly why it makes such a powerful impact - it is a true story about normal people.
Nowhere in the movie is there any superhuman act. After all a man with a red cape, saving the world, does not fly around in real life. Instead, the Air Traffic Control people on the ground, when first put in an unfamiliar hostage situation, flounder as they try to come to terms with the crisis. You can feel their terror and vulnerability as they view the horrible events unfolding in front of their eyes.
In the United 93 flight, as the door closed for the last time, the term "flying coffin" popped into my head unbidden. I don't know how I would react if I was told the plane I was flying on was hijacked. Maybe I would have hoped that everything will work out fine and I would get out of it alive. The passengers in the movie do too.
Until they realize that it is a suicide mission. The passengers call their loved ones to bid adieu. And then get ready to not give up. The passengers fight as long as they can. How would it feel to know that, though you impossibly keep hoping it would not be true, you are going to die soon?
I knew the ending - still, in the last frames of the movie I was fervently praying that the passengers will regain control of the plane and everything will be hunky dory again. If only real life could always have happy endings.
United 93 brought back thoughts about how innocent people tend to be the target of hatred. Who gets benefited? Does the violence make any sense at all? Are lost civilian lives supposed to be collateral damage in the wars between nations? How can that be justified?