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9-11 films give different perspectives

By Lawrence Toppman
Movie Critic

The attack on America seven Septembers ago inspired countless movies, many of them quick TV knockoffs. Type “September 11, 2001” as the keyword on the Internet Movie Data Base, and more than 150 film or TV titles pop up. (Some are only tangential, though.)

None of us will ever fully understand what it was like to be part of all that happened that day. But these four pictures give interesting perspectives.

11'09''01: September 11 – Eleven directors from around the world told stories meant to last 11 minutes, nine seconds and one frame. The boldest is Ken Loach's short about another attack on September 11 – when the CIA helped the 1973 coup that ousted Chile's elected president, Salvador Allende.

United 93 – Paul Greengrass got an Oscar nomination for directing this edge-of-the-seat, nonjudgmental drama, which painstakingly re-created events leading up to the crash of the skyjacked flight in a Pennsylvania field. Even if you know what's about to happen, you can't tear your eyes away.

World Trade Center – Oliver Stone focused on two officers (played by Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña) who were trapped in the rubble, their families and the obsessive Marine (Michael Shannon) who heard a call (perhaps from heaven) to dig them out. Not typical for Stone, but touching.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” – Michael Moore's documentary examines the aftermath of the attack and the freedom – dangerously unbridled freedom, in his mind – that it gave President Bush and his cohorts to tear up the U.S. Constitution. This one-sided film is the highest-grossing documentary of all time.

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