I watched the film, United 93, today.
I think everyone should watch it. Except for the 2-year-old who sat six seats down from me in the theater. What kind of horrific mother brings her toddler to such a violent and emotional movie?
About 20 minutes into the movie, I found my heart racing. Throughout the film, I learned a few things that I didn't otherwise know about what happened that day. Ultimately, this was a film about three things:
A truly well-made movie that was hard to watch, but critical to see.
- Zealotry. Islamic religious zealots who gave no care to the lives of others, but instead thought only of their cause. There is a difference between zealous and zest. The difference is selfishness, and the zealot is focused obsessively on one thing, regardless of who or what stands in the way and regardless of what others might want for themselves. There is no other way but the zealot's, even at the expense of the lives of others.
- Buffoonery. The government screwed up in so many ways. It occurred to me that we are unfathomably lucky that we did not get hit by a larger entity of more than 20 terrorists that day. Had this been a full-out attack by, say, China, we'd all be speaking Chinese today. Government is never an answer to any problem. Its myriad levels of bureaucracy and bloated inefficiency can never be trusted for timely decisions. This film shows that truth in all its glory, which reinforces my firm belief: good government is small government.
- Individualism. The heroes of the film are the individuals who made hard decisions without trying to commit it to a vote. They didn't wait for authority or approval - they just did what made sense. And most notably, the passengers. With a dire situation and sketchy details by phone, they ran rings around the government's Pony-Express-speed answer, and saved Washington another hit with their sacrifice. The individual should never be fettered by anyone to move ahead and make a decision and act upon it.
As I came out of the theater and into the lobby again, the first thing I saw was a poster for Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center." I shuddered. He'd better not mess with something so sacred as that day. Thankfully, "United 93" honored it by just telling the story, and used several of the very people involved in key roles that day in the movie itself. I can see why the families of the passengers agreed to the film. I'll buy the DVD when it comes out. I'll show it to my grandkids someday.