Sunday night, Sept. 11, 2016, CNN Films aired a 2 hour documentary “9/11: Fifteen Years Later”, directed by three NYC firefighters, James. Gideon and James Naudett. The film is hosted by Dennis Leary.
Apparently they are brothers, and one of the brothers has been planning to make a documentary about cooking in NYC firehouses during the summer of 2001. The first fifteen minutes show the communal lives of a city firefighter.
The film then retraces the two plane hits on 9/11, and provides the first ever original footage from inside the North Tower. It then documents the rescue effort in the rubble during the first 24 hours.
Some of the scenes are quite upfront. A firefighter vomiting back at the station, another lighting cigarette.
The last half hour of the documentary shows the fire company today, as well as the fully rebuilt plaza, with One World Trade Center, whose observatory is open now (I visited it on Nov. 12).
YouTube has coverage of the morning of 9/11 on all major networks, and it is surprising that it generally took about 5 minutes after the first hit for the reporting to stop.
A related film would be “9/11: Inside the Pentagon” aired on OBS Sept 6 (one hour), reviewed on a legacy blog (see “Index” for URL).
“Sully”, directed by Clint Eastwood (who composed some original popular music for the film) and written by Todd Lomarnick presents Tom Hanks in the eyes of a “man of action” hero, pilot Chesley Sullenberger (using his book “Highest Duty”), who saved the lives of 155 passengers on a USAir flight that endured bird strikes on both engines on Jan 15. 2009 as it was leaving La Guardia, by landing in the icy Hudson River. This was five days before Obama’s inauguration.
The top-level plot concerns Sully’s vindication himself against the bureaucracy of the FAA and NTSB, for not trying to return to La Guardia or to Teeterboro, when post flight recovery suggested that one of the engines was still working.
On a narrative level, the film justifies his judgment, by showing dreams of the possible plane crashes into residential buildings in Manhattan or Queens that could have occurred, and final simulation, which Sully tweaks at his “trial” also makes the point.
Yes, it’s interesting that Warner Brothers releases this film on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. But we get from the metaphor what Sully means by duty.
Aaron Eckhart looks scrubbed as the co-pilot Skiles. Remember what happens to him in “Thank You for Smoking” (2005)?
Angelika also presented a 4-minute short film “Floaters” by Foster Huntington, about surfing.
(Published: Friday, September 9, 2016 at 9 PM EDT)