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World Trade Center


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Michael Shannon, Jay Hernandez, Jude Ciccolella, Donna Murphy, Julie Adams

Director: Oliver Stone

Not so much a movie about the devastating events of 11 September 2001, although parts of them are graphically depicted. Instead (and wisely), director Oliver Stone concentrates on the fortunes of two Port Authority cops (Cage, Peña) who, called to the scene of devastation at the twin towers of the World Trade Center, ripped apart by terrorist-controlled jetliners ploughing into them, themselves ended up trapped under rubble.

A third, trapped with them, might have helped had he not been killed by falling debris half an hour after the initial blasts.

Both badly injujred, the two survivors stay conscious by talking to one another. Peña, in particular, is reminded of a line from GI Jane: 'Pain is your friend. It means you're alive'.

Intercut with scenes of their plight are those involving the wives (Bello, Gyllenhaal) who wait - at first with zero information. Bello and Gyllenhaal, two of the best Hollywood actresses around, are pretty well pitch perfect - but it's the guys who are at the core of the film's emotional wallop.

Cage, especially, more than makes up for some dodgy projects in recent years with one of his best performances. And you'll long remember a scene of one man being rescued from the ruins which, shot from below, is like coming through the open mouth of a grave.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: UIP (DreamWorks). Colour by De Luxe.
129 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 24 Sep 2006