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The Magnificent Seven

Rarely have so many charismatic actors been used in a film that feels quite as soulless as Antoine Fuqua’s update of The Magnificent Seven.

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The Age of Shadows

At 140 minutes, Kim sometimes loses the rhythm of his spy thriller, but he's such a confident filmmaker—and his leading man such a magnetic presence—that…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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'United 93': A study in empathy

From: Mike Casey, Cranston, RI

I just wanted to thank you for your review of "United 93." I don't know if it's human nature, or just my own stupid inability to sympathize, but I find it hard sometimes to capture the emotion of a situation when I hear about it. Don't get me wrong when I first heard of the events of United 93, I was sad at the lose of these people. I was also proud of a group of people who gave their lives in what would ultimately save what could have been thousands more. Yet still it's hard to fully capture in my mind what it must have felt like to be in that plane... Until I saw "United 93." Not only did it help me understand what they felt like, but also the unsung heroes in the air traffic control. Here is a group of people who don't get nearly the credit they deserve for what they do everyday let alone that day. We see the map of planes in the air in the movie. These air traffic controllers managed to emergency land each and every one of them without a set plan for such an incident.

I work in a video store and have talked to many customers about this movie. Some say they won't see it because it's too tough for them to watch it. To them I say, you're probably right. Emotionally, this movie is not for everyone. A larger group, however, tells me they won't see it because it's stupid to make an exploitive film on such a tragic event. That's when I have to interject. I explain to them this movie is less like a movie and more like a documentary. There is no cheesy dialogue or cheap political attacks. There is no in depth characterization. There is just a story as it unfolds. It's a perfect way to try to comprehend the emotional events from the eyes of those who lived through them. I for one and glad this film was made. Now when the next generation grows up hearing about United 93 and 9-11 they will have something to see to show them just how tragic it was.

I have heard all about Pearl Harbor. I have read stories, seen cheesy movies and heard first hand accounts from people alive at the time. I know it was tragic. I know it was sad. But maybe if a movie was made like United 93 about Pearl Harbor my generation would really know what it felt like to be a part of these events.

I hope my thoughts don't come across as insensitive. I just feel human nature makes it tough to fully comprehend what it feels like to be involved in tragic events. That's when film can be important. They can bring you there. They can show you heroics. But it takes a man like Greengrass to do this right. To not exploit. To be willing to avoid personal feelings and politics. To just want to show you something, plain and simple.

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