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The 9/11 Commission Report
Directed by Leigh Scott
Written by Leigh Scott
Starring Jeff Denton, Rhett Giles, Eliza Swenson, Sarah Lieving
Produced by Sherri Strain, David Michael Latt
No one in America over the age of about six or so is ever going to forget September 11th. Though we just passed the five year mark, it’s still as fresh as if it happened to us only yesterday. It’s going to feel like September 12th for the next twenty years or more—most of our lifetimes, it’ll feel like a fresh wound.
Which is why there’s at least some muttering when the dramatizations come out. “United 93” made some of us think “too soon, man…too soon,” even though it only just made its appearance in video stores recently. The ABC version, “The Road to 9/11,” was cause and crusade among Democrats screaming for equal time. And so, of all the unlikely places, The Asylum takes its run at the 9/11 concept. And with solid results.
So what we have here plotwise is pretty much self-explanatory. Scott and company will be dramatizing events detailed in the 9/11 Commission Report, and except where someone’s already been convicted of a crime, the names will be fictional.
Which is sort of a surprise—with the possible exception of Asylumized (I told you people, I was taking credit for that one) knockoffs of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” The Asylum’s been pretty much dedicated to horror flicks like a Marvel fanboy’s dedicated to Wolverine. But I suppose with that anniversary hanging over the country like the Sword of Damocles, it was time for The Asylum to venture in on its biggest knockoff of all.
Though, The Asylum took the moral high ground with this one—putting Leigh Scott on direction and writing detail is like the Yankees sending in Jeter—and that’s a definite point in their favor.
Debate all you want about the correctness of doing even partially fictionalized dramatizations of—quite possibly—the single worst and most nation-altering event we’ve ever seen, but when you come right down to it, the only thing we’re concerned with here is the quality of the film. And it has quality, and in spades. “The 9/11 Commission Report” is a surprisingly clever piece of historical dramatization.
“The 9/11 Commission Report” watches like the ultimate iteration of “Law and Order,” shot on a stage that encompasses the whole world. Bouncing around from Manila to Tel Aviv and Pakistan and everywhere in between, Scott’s work rebuilds a history filled with vague suspicions and hindsight and puts it into a stark, clear perspective that should probably qualify for course credit in most American history classes.
Even better, “The 9/11 Commission Report” gives a convincing insight into the enormous net of complex, interrelated issues that resulted in the worst possible end. Yes, in retrospect, the horrors of 9/11 might well have been stopped…but at what costs?
Philosophical issues and hindsight notwithstanding, “The 9/11 Commission Report” does the job more than handily of illustrating the vast network of events that led up to that great tragedy.
The ending plays out like an action movie, almost, with a really tautly-paced sequence leading up to the rescue of a Taliban captive who serves as a US informant. Of course, we all really know how the movie ends—most of us saw it already five years ago. And the last five minutes of the movie will give a good long look at that horror once again.
The special features include audio options, a behind the scenes featurette, cast and crew commentary, and trailers for “Halloween Night,” “Snakes on a Train,” “Pirates of Treasure Island,” “666: The Child,” and “The 9/11 Commission Report.”
All in all, “The 9/11 Commission Report” is a stark, gripping, and ultimately chilling display of the events surrounding and leading up to the United States’ single biggest non-natural catastrophe.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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