World Trade Center is about just that -- the attacks on, and the collapse of, the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. But 45 minutes in, a viewer might easily forget the movie is set during that nightmarish day. There is little talk of terrorism and scant suggestion that a mighty nation suddenly felt vulnerable and besieged. The filmmaker here does not cut away to discussions of fury and vengeance; the televisions are on everywhere, but there are few whispers of who did this or why or how they will pay for what they have done. Instead, we are in but two places, trapped with Port Authority Police Department officers Will Jimeno (Michael Peña) and John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) beneath beams and girders and concrete and ash, and in the dens of their families, awaiting the inevitable grim news that they're among the thousands to have lost kin in the World Trade Center. For all the baggage it carries with it to the multiplex, World Trade Center might as well be a movie about any two men buried beneath the surface and trying to stay alive, even as their wives and children and parents and friends believe them dead. Without being too glib about it, World Trade Center is a most improbable thing: a feel-good film about September 11, one of the few stories to emerge from that day to come with a happy ending. Hard to believe it was directed by Oliver Stone, who keeps things movie-of-the-week safe, which doesn't dull its impact or import.
Oliver StoneNicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Gary Stretch, William Mapother, Frank Whaley, Jon Bernthal, Lucia Brawley, Nick DamiciAndrea BerloffMichael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Moritz Borman, Debra HillParamount Pictures