Why I Won't Be Seeing World Trade Center

On the release day of the major motion picture World Trade Center by Oliver Stone, I can confidently say I will never see it. I'm even going so far as to avoid watching the movie's trailer and any of its television advertising. The only in-depth information about this movie that I have experienced are a handful of reviews that I read in preparation for this article. Why have I gone to such lengths?

It's true that I live in New York City but that was not the case on September 11, 2001. Days before my wife and I had decided to make the commitment to move to the country's largest city and we even had an apartment ready for us to lease. I had come up with a timetable for quitting my job so we could move within a month.

On the morning of September 11, we were watching the Today Show which is part of our morning routine. With my wife getting ready in the bathroom and me undoubtedly watching another corny cooking segment a special report came on. The normally rosy Katie Couric made a somber announcement about a major fire in one of the World Trade Center towers. Almost immediate video footage confirmed the huge fire and they began to speculate that a plane had struck the building.

After calling in my wife and watching a little bit of coverage, I had to leave for work. On the ride to my job I listened to the news on the radio and they reported that the other tower had been struck by a different plane. Once arriving at work I turned to the only news source I had – the internet. Websites were so jammed with traffic and the facts were so sketchy it was impossible to know what was happening. Finally word arrived that both of the towers had collapsed and I decided to go home.

That evening after enduring too long of the endless news coverage, we found an oasis. Willy Wonka was playing on the only channel that didn't have live reports. We watched for a while and decided to take a walk to decompress. It was then that I realized that our plans to move to New York were likely in jeopardy.

About a week later I got a call from the sweet woman we had been talking to about the apartment. She timidly asked if we were still interested and I hesitantly said "yes." Almost a month later we loaded up a moving van and drove all our belongs and a cat to a very different New York than we thought we would be moving to; one that was somber, scared, threatened, dirty and almost entirely jobless.

With that, the events of September 11, 2001 did have a direct impact on my life and one I do not wish to revisit. For this reason and the others I am listing below I have made the very conscious decision to skip this film.

1. Despite the dramatic liberties that the filmmaker no doubt has taken, this is not and will never be a story of triumph. I realize there were many individual moments of hope and heroicism, but I don't feel those outweigh the intense hatred that spawned this attack.

2. For months (and perhaps years) after the attack I was scared. It seemed like every day and especially on major holidays we were told to remain strong and continue our lives even though authorities had "evidence" that another attack may be imminent. The fear of hearing a jet fly over or riding the subway under the East River took a long time to get over.

3. This event caused me to put my life on hold for months. I sent resumes that never were acknowledged and not a single job was available. Informational interviews were not even being offered because employers were forced to let go half of their work force. As a result I came as close as I ever have to running out of money.

I fully realize that this decision is personal and by no means universal. Perhaps if this movie had come out years in the future I might draw a different conclusion. But for now, I hope if you do see it that you take away something more than the thrill and entertainment of another Oliver Stone blockbuster.

Some reviews that may help you decide to see or not to see World Trade Center are as follows:

Pinned Under the Weight of Skyscrapers and History in 'World Trade Center' by A.O. Scott of the New York Times.

Stone Cold by Dana Stevens of Slate

World Trade Center review on metacritic.com

Sandie, Aug 15 2006 11:21PM

I'm not planning to see this film either but I'm sure some folks will find it appealing . I am rather surprised that the studio's promotion machine didn't push for a September release that is closer to the anniversary of the day.

PaulP, Aug 16 2006 10:17AM

That makes 3 of us not going to see this movie. I think this was as close to September that they could have gotten without offending people.

mark, Aug 25 2006 12:07PM

i don't know why but i have been following slate's graphic adaptation of the 9/11 report. to me this representation of the events of september 11 is more palatable.

although i find it a little distasteful that the advertiser is continental airlines (at least when i visited the site last).