Is anyone else sad that Oliver Stone didn’t pull some Natural Born Syriana whizbangery for September 11th? Even though you know it’d be dismissed as smoke and mirrors, blowing out our amps might feel better than the new TV movie World Trade Center and its offer (heartfelt, at least) of a good, hard cry. Like Paul Greengrass, Stone draws round us the security blanket of a blinkered story — two cops trapped under the tower rubble — though, unlike United 93, this film at least recounts events that definitely happened.
WTC is all about extraction: not just the self-vigil by Sgt. John (Nicolas Cage) and tyro Will (Michael Peña) until their rescue, but also the urge to tap into a vein of hope amidst horror. Family keeps them alive — the message pierces through as the only clear thing among, if you think about it, a kind of abstraction: two actors immobilized in the cluttered dark, alternated with the suspended “drama” of clueless families who don’t even know whether to grieve. Even their heroism becomes a state of grace (neither knows that the entire buildings fell). But the assumption of WTC, holding grains of truth but also insidious codependence after years of fear-mongering, is that we most need someone to say it’s going to be ok.