Robert DeNiro, Steve Buscemi, George W. Bush
James Hanlon, Rob Klug
Tom Forman, Greg Kandra
Certain films in one's life defy critical analysis. They are so deeply within oneself that it is nearly impossible to look at them objectively...with a true critical eye. "9/11" is, in many ways, such a film.
I do not pretend to know what it is like to experience events such as those that occurred on 9/11. While I have certainly experienced significant trauma in my life, I have not experienced terrorism...I have not experienced mass death...mass pain...mass suffering. While I have experienced events one could easily describe as horror, I have never truly been surrounded by it. Those who experienced 9/11 firsthand were, in fact, surrounded by horror.
This film, shot by two filmmakers who just happened to be doing a documentary on probie firefighters when the WTC was attacked, is not just a film. It is an experience. It contains the sights, sounds, feelings and emotions that many of the survivors of 9/11 continue to experience to this day. I cannot imagine a survivor of 9/11 watching this film and not having a flashback. It is, without a doubt, an automatic trigger. This film goes beyond film into documenting real life...horror, tragedy, heroism and slow but steady healing.
To comment on the technical aspects of this film is to miss the point. This film is not about the art of filmmaking. It is a documentation of history...of profound, tragic and horrific history. Anyone who has ever suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may, in fact, be triggered by this film. Even though my life experiences were very different, the feelings, the visuals, the voices in this film brought back much of my own horror. That is how powerful this film is...it can trigger horror beyond that which is inherently within the film.
"9/11", for me, is a film that defies criticism...it defies rating. It is a valuable film that serves to remind each of us of the power of hatred, the power of violence to destroy our lives. It's the kind of film that makes me want to put aside my petty differences with people and just love them. It's the kind of film that makes me want to take those I love and say it to them over and over and over again. It's the kind of film I hope I never have to see again.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic