Many films have used the theme and tried out different treatments from hard hitting documentaries to tales of heroism to heart wrenching stories of loss, love and pain.
Over the last twelve years, a number of films have been made about the 9/11 attacks. While some deal with the subject head on, others aim to capture post 9/11 culture.
Here are five most significant cinematic portraits that offer an engaging perspective on the tragedy.
5. World Trade Centre
Directed by Academy Award winner Oliver Stone, this movie is based on the lives of two officers assigned to New York City’s Port Authority.
The two policemen, John Mclouglin (Nicholas Cage) and William J. Jimemo (Michael Pena) have to risk their lives to evacuate the towers after the attack. However, as the building begins to rumble they get trapped in the wreckage. While they are trapped for hours they speak to each other, think of their families and realise the importance of life.
Eventually, they survive and are united with their families. The film celebrates courage and endurance of not just these two but the entire Nation coming together in the face of a tragedy. Nicholas Cage delivers a brilliant performance as Sergeant Mcloughlin in this emotional and gripping drama.
4. United 93 (2006)
Directed by English film director – Paul Greengrass, the film is an account of the heroic resistance of the passengers and the crew and the courage they showed.
Out of the four hijacked planes on September 11, only one failed to hit the target area. It is believed that the passengers of this flight fought back and attempted to enter the cockpit, thereby forcing terrorists to lose control of the plane.
However, the plane crashed in an open area near Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing everyone on board. The movie is intense with a nerve wrecking account of the hijack and the chaos that followed.
The film, brilliantly recreates the final hours of the doomed flight and the brave fight the passengers put up. It honours the brave passengers who in this time of crisis worked out a plan of attack and confronted the hijackers. This real life story of a group of strangers uniting in the face of death will surely move you.
3. Reign Over Me (2007)
It is the story of two friends Alan (Don Cheadle) and Charlie (Adam Sandler) who happen to reunite after years. Alan, a successful rich Dentist has it all- a beautiful wife, lovely kids, big apartment, an expensive car and a great career but is still bored and unhappy.
When he meets his old roommate Charlie, he is shocked to see how he has completely withdrawn from the world and has become a loner.
The story is all about how both Alan and Charlie meet by chance and rekindle their friendship, at a stage in life when they probably need it the most. Alan learns that Charlie’s life was shattered by the loss his wife and daughters in the 9/11 attacks.
This not only makes Alan value his own family but also gives him a larger purpose in life, to help his friend Charlie.
The film shows how even in the worst of situations there is a ray of hope, somewhere. In Charlie’s case, it’s the compassion and support of his friend.
2. My Name Is Khan
Another film that attempted to lash out at post 9/11 prejudices and it did so quite successfully. It is the story of a Muslim autistic man –
Rizwan, played by Shahrukh Khan and his Hindu wife Mandira, played by Kajol, who reside in the US. Tragedy strikes post 9/11 when Mandira’s son from her previous marriage is killed by a bunch of school bullies, just because his step father is a Muslim. Mandira blames Rizwan his religion and his surname Khan for the loss.
This is when an innocent but determined Rizwan sets out on a mission to meet The US President. His aim is to tell the President that though his name is Khan, he is not a terrorist.
The story captures Rizwan’s journey and how he manages to get media attention, support and is finally able to convey his message to the President. The movie is a perfect mixture of love, drama, emotion, pathos with a profound social message in it.
1. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Michael Moore made an excellent documentary about the political climates both before and after 9/11. The movie almost cost Bush the Presidency with its clever narration and uses of footage.
The movie was both poignant and clever and captured Bush’s first term and how he used the fears generated by 9/11 to drive the unjust and unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The movie captured the fear and anger after 9/11 and how it was misused by US politicians.
The highest-grossing documentary of all time peeks behind the curtains of the Bush White House, examining the relationships between the Bushes, the bin Ladens, and the Saudi royal family.