What did I make of Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center?"
So, I saw Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" tonight. To cut to the chase, I wasn't crazy about it. I know the two films weren't going for the same thing, but I felt Paul Greengrass's "United 93" exceeded this in every way. Most notably, while this film is quite sentimental and "United" was free of sentiment, I found the latter much more emotionally affecting. Where "United" is easily the best movie I've seen so far this year, "WTC" earns about a 2.5 out of 4. Sadly though, this will likely quadruple "United 93's" grosses as it's more of a relative "crowd-pleaser."
This isn't a bad film in any respect. There's plenty of respectable things about it. It appears to (probably) be made with good intentions and there's more than a few moments that completely work on an emotional level. Hell, it's impossible not to be moved by this story. But ultimately, that's part of the problem-- the movie relies on the true story (and not a very cinematic one either) to generate emotion and feeling, hoping people won't notice how weak and cliched the script is.
I saw this movie in a theater filled with Port Authority workers and firefighters, so needless to say, an interesting experience. I'm not going to delve anymore because (a) I'm exhausted, and (b) frankly, this movie doesn't open for three weeks, so I don't feel too obligated to run through it all NOW. I'll probably expand tomorrow or in the next couple days. For now, I'll just give you some likes/dislikes.
The acting by the leads, especially Nicolas Cage
Many of the emotional beats
The opening 20-30 minutes
WHAT DOESN'T WORK:
The 'Jesus with a bottle of water' sequence
Maria Bello's contact lenses
The relatively unspirited direction
The closing sequence/monologue