Who would have thought in the days following Sept. 11, 2001 that the deaths of nearly 3,000 people would become a plot in an all-too-true movie less than five years later? Or that we would pay $10 to revisit the date?
That time has come, and reactions are mixed.
It’s easy to pretend that we are removed from it all by the width of a nation. Ground zero is 3,000 miles and three time zones away from us. Are those of us who didn’t lose anyone that day any more prepared for the films than New Yorkers?
It depends on the content. We can only imagine how New Yorkers felt when watching “World Trade Center,” which seemed far more emotionally draining than “United 93,” perhaps because the former was a showcase for death and destruction, while the latter featured heroes and a foiled plan.
Of course, we might be so horrified by the images of violence because we, as a nation, are not exposed to the realities of this war the current administration has gotten itself stuck in. If you’ve never seen international news we recommend you start tuning in immediately.
The rest of the world knows more about the grim war our country started than the average American does. They see the destruction of the Iraq war each day, while we have only just now been told that Saddam Hussein officially had no link to 9/11 (though if you didn’t know that before the information was quietly leaked last week, you really need to pay more attention).
We hate to say, “Re-enacting these deaths are OK, but don’t you dare touch these others!” But presentation is a large part of whether or not we can be comfortable with some gut-wrenching images, and that is something that filmmakers must understand. Don’t try to be a hero yourself; this isn’t your story. Don’t use gratuitous images to try to shock and awe, not when you’re dealing with such a major national tragedy. Listen to the public – given the depth of national sadness three days ago, Americans might not be ready to see Sept. 11 as a product of entertainment value or a cash cow for filmmakers.
As a group of individuals who owe the safety of the words we print to the First Amendment, we’re all for free speech and expression, but not when it serves Hollywood’s own pretentious, “artistic” (read: Academy Award-seeking) agenda.
If the film is made with at least a little sensitivity – and those involved seek public input on the content – then we see no major problem with the films being made.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the Sundial editorial board and are not necessarily those of the journalism department. Other views on the opinion page are those of the individual writer.