Flight 93 (2006) starring Jeffrey Nordling, Brennan Elliott, Kendall Cross, Ty Olsson, Monnae Michaell, Colin Glazer, April Telek

TV's Touching Tragedy

Before getting to my movie review of "Flight 93" I feel a need to confront something having ready a variety of reviews on this made for TV movie, some positive and some scathing. That thing is this, made for TV movies are different to big screen movies, they have a certain type of audience that they want to appeal to; from those who grew up on the patriotism of John Wayne to those who have grown tired of big budget movies which are too gritty and in your face and just want easy to watch, uncomplicated drama. As such "Flight 93" is a movie which is made to appeal to that crowd, to a crowd who might not want to watch the bigger budget "United 93" which came out later in the same year. I mention this because some opinions have ridiculed this movie for its melodramatic styling and not taken into consideration who the target audience was.

Anyway as to "Flight 93" well to be honest I have tended to put off watching and reviewing movies surrounding the events of September 11th because in all honesty I find it uncomfortable watching these movies. But because "Flight 93" is a made for TV movie it had a greater appeal because I knew it would be less complicated and easier to watch than more well known big screen movies. And "Flight 93" delivered exactly what I expected, a patriotic dramatization of what may have occurred aboard the plane as the passengers having realised their fate not only tried to speak to loved ones but did something about the situation.

Now I am not going into details about the plot, I don't feel it is necessary because even if like me you are not an American the events of 9/11 are well known and painful to think about. What I will say and repeat is that this dramatization of what may have occurred on United Airlines Flight 93 as the passengers took action is less complicated than most movies I have seen surrounding 9/11. Instead we get emotional drama as we have the passengers speaking to loved ones on phones after the plane is taken by terrorists and then we have heroics as after waiting till the flight was away from populated areas the passengers rushed the terrorists. It is all very simplified, typical of a made for TV movie where you question how certain things could happen but for those who want an easy to watch account it works.

It also works in styling with nice use of hand held cameras to not only get up close to the various passengers but to also deliver the confinement of the inside of plane as people are on top of each other. Yes being a TV movie the shaky cam business is not so effective and some of the special effects look cheap compared to big budget movies but the power of various scenes such as the scene where Tom Burnett secretly calls home, trying to hide his ear piece still comes across. There is also the scene where we learn the names of everyone who boarded the plane as their travel passes are put through the machine at the airport which to be honest left me conflicted. It was a clever idea as we got to learn who is who, but there are so many people that it seemed over used yet I feel conflicted because every one of the innocent people who died on United Airlines Flight 93 deserves to be remembered and why shouldn't we see their names.

What this all boils down to is that "Flight 93" is a movie made for people who enjoy the easy to watch nature of made for TV movies. Having said that any movie about United Airlines Flight 93 is not easy to watch but this is less gritty and more about the emotions between loved ones and the heroic actions of the passengers to prevent a bigger disaster. If you don't like made for TV movies don't watch this and stick to "United 93" as it will likely annoy in its simplified dramatization.