Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Flight 93: Is it too soon?

So I've seen ads for the "United 93" movie that follows the action on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11 and I am the standard amount of freaked out.

Yes, I like the idea that the folk on flight 93 fought back, breached the cockpit and crashed the plane. No, I don't know if it is true. If it is true, it sounds like Hollywood, but I don't know if it should ever be a movie.

This feeling is, for me, mixed up with my unpleasant perception of the holocaust museum in Washington DC. If you've never been, it's hard to explain how distasteful I find it. Suffice to say, if the designers didn't think I would be sad enough without sad background music in places, an elevator that resembles a cattle car and being assigned the identity of an actual person who was there (they hand you a passport-sized booklet and you get to read various bits about your person's life throughout, finding out at the end what happened to them,) they well underestimated my imagination's response to a pile of shoes that had once belonged to people who were asked to remove them just before they were killed. The overtly theatrical stuff is to me distracting. (Are we really so stupid that the sadness of the situation must be so obvious?)

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the Flight 93 movie, how wrong it is, and how it is too soon to be making a movie about such tragedy. That said, everything I've read suggests that the director did everything he could to make this movie as absolutely respectful as he possible, down to listening carefully to complaints from the families of those not portrayed as action heroes. Ebert and whoever gave it two thumbs up.

But I didn't hear any of this about Hotel Rwanda. We Americans lined up in droves to see the tragedy there. If anybody considered whether showing a recent tragedy might be exploitive there, Roger Ebert certainly didn't.

Odd that a question that seems so obvious about an American tragedy doesn't even occur to us about an African one. I guess it doesn't occur to us when the tragedy feels more personal.


1 comment:

LaReinaCobre said...

My cinematic guilty pleasure is disaster movies. I will not be watching this movie. I will be watching Poseidon instead (whenever it comes out, which I think is soon). I didn't want to hear details about United Flight 93 when it was news and I definitely don't want to see it as a dramatized event.

Is it different from Hotel Rwanda? Not in the grand scheme of things. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been made; I'm just not going to see it.