Or, Buried Alive on the Fourth of July
If you’re buried alive under a pile of smoldering rubble in an Oliver Stone movie, it seems your salvation may come from one of two places. First, there’s Jesus. If he shows up, he may offer to deliver you from suffering, but it will likely mean punching your ticket. Hang on, buddy, because your second saviour is the U.S. Marines. And if the Marines show up, boy howdy are you in good hands. That’s the non-ironic gist of Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, a conservative yarn of life in these times rife with sentiment and earnestness. I’ll go so far as to say the bit with the Marines is a well-timed moment of catharsis in a movie that needs it. It made me smile and laugh out loud in spite of myself. Sometimes, hokum works pretty beautifully. The film’s opening is just lovely — a sober collection of shots of New York City, skyline still intact, coming to life in the morning. It reminded me a little of the majestic opening montage of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, set to “Rhapsody in Blue,” but this version is laced unavoidably with overwhelming sadness.