Rescue Drama. Based on the true story of two cops who survived the collapse of the twin towers and their rescue from the rubble. I must admit, I was amazed that Oliver Stone made this film. This is a very human exploration of courage, hope, pain and heroism that touched my soul with the value of family, faith and country that is usually feverishly attacked by Stone. He should be applauded for the beauty which he has created in this film. Perhaps one of the reasons why his conspiracy theorizing is absent is because he chose to focus exclusively on individual New Yorker’s reactions to the events and almost completely avoided the bigger picture of what is happening, even to the extent of reducing the planes hitting to a mere shadow on a sky scraper passing by, and the sound and thunder of the hits from a distance. Of course, it is entirely possible that Stone may believe the insane theories that the American government or “the Jews” did it, and this is merely the ant’s eye view of the common man. Be that as it may, this was a truly great story and film.
What I love about stories like this is the existential factor that places the heros in such peril that you project yourself into them and wonder how you might face death, or wonder how much of your own life you have squandered in missing what’s really important.
It is important to note that the Marine who went alone into the rubble was positively portrayed as a man of Christian faith, courage and duty, who entered the rubble as a symbol of how the Marines are the first to arrive and often unspoken heroes in that sense. When he walked into those ruins alone and willing to die to help find survivors, it may have been the most moving part of the film for me. He says, “You are my mission,” to the trapped officers, which reminded me of the symbolic heroism of Saving Private Ryan, “The mission is a man.” So there is this entirely positive symbolic portrayal of the military in this film that is diametrically opposed to his other films. Why? I don’t know. Maybe he considers the military only good if it rescues people from the aftermath of evil, rather than being a positive force against evil on the battlefield. But then again, this good Marine says that there will be pay back and the story notes that he went on to two tours of duty in Iraq, so that softens that theory. Anyway, thank you, Mr. Stone, for portraying Christian faith and the Marines as positive in this picture. God knows, the negative stereotypes in movies are more typical.
Some may claim that the heroism is weakened because the cops that got buried in the rubble didn’t do anything, they just went in and got covered. But this misses the point, They DID act heroically. They went in to the building to help. Sure, it was their job in a way, but it was also a choice. Not everyone went. And they were there trying to help people, so they are clearly heroes.
As for those who say, “it’s too soon,” Balderdash! It’s not soon enough. We need to revisit September 11 intimately, because already too many people have forgotten and have reduced the war on terror to political grandstanding and party politics.