When Hollywood Makes History
Invented Details in ‘United 93’ Raise Real Questions
Suddenly we should be cautious about Hollywood’s portrayal of historic events:
But the movie, which opens nationwide today, is a dramatic re-creation that includes scenes and images that go far beyond what is known about the attacks.
Those scenes raise questions: How far can a dramatic movie go in imposing its own reality before it distorts the public’s understanding of the event? And with memories of 9/11 still vivid and raw, is it too soon for such films to be made?
Umm, I guess I don’t recall a great deal of media angst over the portrayal of 9/11 in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’. And that was, you know, a documentary. Facts are everything in a documentary, right?
Murdoc might actually go see ‘United 93’. Most of what I’ve heard makes it sound good. But I’ll admit that I’m not so sure about a film that tries to recreate events for which there is so little factual knowledge. A movie about the hijacked airliners is going to be filled with, at best, guesses. Most of the details will need to be invented by the writers because no one who knows is around to tell us about them.
I don’t have a problem with this film being made, and I don’t have a problem with guesswork being used to fill in the (rather large) gaps. Even when the events a film is based on are very well known there’s a certain amount of artistic license and dramatization. Heck, Peter Jackson and company even thought they needed to “punch up” ‘The Lord of the Rings’, which, I hope you realize, is a work of fiction. I can think of a lot of ways that the artistic license could be used to do something bad and unpatriotic, but nothing I’ve read or heard indicates that this is the case.
But knowing that so much of what we’re seeing is just made up makes it difficult to know whether it’s worth it. I don’t know how much of the film deals with the situation on the ground (which is far more documented and known) but I’d guess the more, the better.
What do you guys think?