Film "United 93" Directed by Paul Greengrass Thesis

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¶ … film "United 93" directed by Paul Greengrass. Specifically it will provide an analysis of the film using technical, mise-en-scene, history, performance, and society concepts. "United 93" tells the story of the doomed United Airlines plane that the passengers attempted to take over after they learned of the events in New York City and Washington, D.C. On the day of September 11, 2001. The film notes that United 93 was on the way to Washington to crash into another building (the Capitol) before the passengers attempted their takeover and the plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

This film attempts to tell the story of the passengers on United 93, who have become folk heroes in the eyes of the American people in their attempt to keep the Muslim highjackers from completing their mission. They did that, and lost their lives in the process. This film follows the people on board from the time they get on board until the plane crashes, and it attempts to give a true picture of the people and their determination.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Thesis on Film "United 93" Directed by Paul Greengrass. Assignment

Technically, the film is a supreme attempt at actually portraying what happened that day. British director Greengrass has directed action-adventure films such as "The Bourne Supremacy," and he uses a very fast-paced technique throughout this documentary-style film. The story opens with the highjackers praying in their hotel room, and then shifts to the airport where airline staff go about their business as if it is any other day. The film then shifts to the aircraft controllers viewpoint when they realize they have highjackings on their hands, and the military response, which was woefully off target and too late to stop any of the crashes from occurring. The film moves quickly from scene to scene introducing characters, but naming few of them because in reality, passengers on a plane would not know each other or call each other by name. Much of the filming is hand-held, like a documentary using archival footage, but it works, because it gives a realistic feeling to this film, as if the filmgoer is really watching events as they occur. In using largely unknown actors, the director also helps these people seem like real people caught in a desperate situation, which is what they were. He does not portray them as heroes, but instead as people who are determined to fight back and to fight violent terrorism at all costs. Another reviewer notes, "The passengers aren't depicted as noble superheroes, but as brave individuals who decided they had no other choice but to attack their attackers" (Wilson). The film is certainly dark and disturbing, but it uses techniques and scenes to make it even more dramatic, and the people even more human and believable.

The mise-en-scene of the film, the sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting all combine to make the film memorable to the viewer, and historically accurate, too. The set was an actually 737 airline jet, and the cockpit was recreated to be as accurate as possible. A major portion of the film was also filmed in flight controller rooms, with actual flight controllers, so the situations are extremely accurate, indicating the confusion and misunderstanding that occurred on the ground as airplanes began to disappear and crash into buildings. The air traffic controllers were not even aware that the first plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, and military officials do not get the message in time to send fighter jets into the air. The situation is frustrating, and that frustration is keenly alive to the viewer. The filmmaker also used a blurring and jarring technique at the end so it is impossible to see what passengers did what in their attack on the cockpit, in an attempt to keep any one passenger from being singled out as a hero or the leader of the attack. It is details like this that make the film so emotional and so successful, because the director uses them effectively and the mise-en-scene is consistent throughout the film.

The actors were largely unknown, and some were actual personnel, so the acting is probably the weakest part of this film. Some of the actors seem wooden while others seem to overact, leading to some discomfort in watching some of the actors in their roles. Of course, because the film is filmed like a documentary, this gives more credence to the characters, but it sometimes detracts from the overall quality of the film and its message. It does continue to convey the idea that these are very real people, however. The costumes are not a major part of the film, although they are accurate and represent what passengers on an early morning flight would be wearing. The main elements of this film that add to the mise-en-scene are the film techniques, the lighting, which is also very accurate to the scene, from a dark air traffic control room to a brightly lit aircraft, and the accuracy of the sets and locations. These are the most important elements that help the film succeed.

Historically, the film attempts to be as accurate as possible. Of course, no one can know exactly what went on inside that aircraft as the passengers realized they were being highjacked and what they faced. However, the filmmakers attempt to make the film as accurate as possible, and even used real pilots, military personnel, and aircraft controllers in many parts in the film. One review notes, "The end result is a riveting movie going experience where many of the real participants who were on duty on 9/11 play themselves (including the FAA's Ben Sliney, commercial airline pilots, civilian and military controllers, and flight attendants such as Trish Gates who plays Sandra Bradshaw)" (Roberts). This helps make the performance and history of the piece more realistic, and it gives a very expert position on what was happening at the time and what was going through people's minds, both in the air and on the ground. It is difficult to tackle a subject like 9/11 that is so well-known by just about every filmgoer, but the director manages to make this film riveting because he uses the real time frame for the event, underscoring how quickly these events occurred and how confusing they were as they happened. No one had any experience with this kind of attack before, and so they could not fathom it at first, and that is all brought into perspective in this film, something not easy to do, but this director accomplished.

The performance of the film is probably the biggest element of the film's success. It is not just the actors that make up the performance, but the editors, sound technicians, and all of the backstage personnel that come together to create a film. In this film it seems the filmmakers were especially dedicated to the task, because the film is edited so well, the soundtrack really punctuates the action, and the tension always mounts to the end, which is difficult to do, since just about everyone knows the outcome of the flight. That performance helps create the tension and drama of the film, combined with excellent direction and production, and so, the overall performance of the film is top-notch, which is why it won so many awards and accolades when it was released in 2006. It is a dramatic film, but it is also a well made film, and that is another reason it was so popular at the box office.

Another aspect of the performance that is hard to ignore is the fact that so many of the families of the victims of United 93 endorse the film. They saw it at a special screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, and most of them felt it gave very accurate portrayals of their friends and loved ones. One of the reasons the film does so well is because of the attention to detail by the film's crew and actors. The crew meticulously researched the people on the flight, right down to what they were wearing, where they were sitting, and who they talked to during the flight. One survivor says, "(Cheyenne Jackson) took a lot of time to study who (Mark Bingham) was,' Bingham said. 'I e-mailed him back and forth, and I talked with him one-on-one. He looks a lot like him in stature. We thought they couldn't have picked anybody better'" (Fortuna). This attention to detail went into every character, and that is another aspect of the film's production and performance that adds credibility and a sense of realism to the film.

What does this film say about society? Well, it shows that when faced with adversity, a very diverse group of people can indeed band together and attempt to do the impossible. It says that our society, when face-to-face with terrorism, will do anything to stop it from occurring. It says a lot about the American character and the character of the people on board United 93, and it… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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