Sunday, January 24, 2010


So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us
This heartfelt documentary was created by award-winning French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who simply set out to make a movie about a rookie NYC fireman and ended up filming the tragic event that changed our lives forever. The program includes additional footage and interviews with the heroic firefighters, rescue workers and the Naudet brothers, providing exclusive insight to their extraordinary firsthand experience of the day's events.
Woah. Talk about right place, right time.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Got it on the 'flix. But I am not sure how much I paid.

And what did I think?
Well, I rented this one because The Bob and Abe Show recommended it as Bob's favorite (or was it Abe's favorite?) documentary of the decade. (As you have seen, mine would be considered Children Underground). I was interested in what these guys saw in this film.

Now, as I said, right place, right time, for sure. I found the two Frenchie filmmakers very sympathique (as the French would say) and entirely adorable. It was actually the relationship of the two brothers that I found more affecting than the actual 9/11-New York stuff. I am pretty sure that doesn't make me an awful American. (It isn't that I find 9/11 stuff in general un-affecting, but for some reason this movie just didn't really do it for me. Now, if you want to see some 9/11 stuff that just rips your heart out, you gotta come to Washington, to the Newseum--yes, the museum of news--to the 9/11 Gallery sponsored by Comcast: Chronicling the Attack on America and the 11 minute video they have. Talk about the waterworks!)

The conclusion of the film was very shocking. But it was shocking in a nice uplifting way. It was really unexpected--maybe that is why I didn't find the movie that affecting?

I don't know. The footage was amazing. Like nothing you would ever imagine. Ever. I suppose the film is really worth watching for that alone. What was it like on that day on Ground Zero? This is 100% the closest you would ever get if you weren't there (which, of course, I was not. I was safe in my dorm when the 2nd plane hit and was away from Washington in my Political Science 101 class when the plane hit the pentagon--a mere 15 miles from my home) and for that insight this film deserves all the credit it has been given.

I suppose that is the thing about documentaries, eh? The filmmakers don't write scripts, and sometimes the things that happen in the subject's lives write the film and take it in a new direction. For this reason, I suppose, it is one of the truest documentaries that was made in the 2000s, if not in the 20th-21st century. The filmmakers explain in their narration that the events of the day really did change the direction of their film. So, kudos to them for being able to do so very well.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
For all of the reasons above, I think this film deserves at least an 8. Like I said, it was the relationship between the filmmaker brothers that I was so intrigued by and for some reason the other "plot lines" weren't as affecting. However, it was an excellent achievement brought on by pure luck on the part of the filmmakers (maybe not so lucky for America) and by their ability to take what they had an make it work.

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