May 15, 2016 at 5:17 pm #15078
By JEFF FARANCE
Film Critic — New Church Family, Daytona Beach
”WTC View” rated R (2005); critic’s rating 4 out of 5 stars. The film will be shown Sunday May 15 at noon at New Church Family – -the public is invited.
Is healing harder when one is constantly confronted by the traumaâ€™s source? “WTC View” recalls with wrenching authenticity the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
A roommate is needed for a Lower Manhattan apartment. One of its selling points is its location near the World Trade Center. Thus the ad beckoned with the phrase â€˜â€˜WTC View.â€™â€™ Sadly, it appeared Sept. 10.
The 107-minute movie is written and directed by Brian Sloan, who adapted it from his NYC Fringe Fest play. His inspiration was the ad of his own, placed the day before the twin towers tumbled. Then he transcribed his answering machine messages for weeks afterward.
Michael Urie, (looking like a teenager though in his early 20s at the time of the film, which was prior to his star turn in the TV comedy â€˜â€˜Ugly Betty,â€™â€™ and features the entire cast of the stageplay) is the central character, Eric. Eric recently has broken up with his boyfriend, but was far from over the relationship when airplanes attacked the American way of life. Instead of the WTC cataclysm distracting him from his love life, it sends him reeling, feeling lost, alone and panic-stricken with a tinge of survivorâ€™s guilt. Sirens send him into a paranoid frenzy.
Fortunately, he has his best friend, Josie (Elizabeth Kapplow), whoâ€™s in the same futile fight to restore some sense of normalcy. Her albatross is the deteriorated relationship with her husband. They remain together, though essentially estranged. And Josie is our comic relief.
“WTC View” is little more than an ambitious recording of the play. It manages to be gut-wrenching without even a wisp of an image of the lost towers. Instead, each of those who visit the apartment as prospective tenants step up to the window. As sunlight washes over their faces, so does a rush of emotions. Reminiscences of where each character was when the towers turned into ashes range from simple descriptions of when and how they heard the news to a wrenching tale of a narrow miss from a bond trader who left the first tower just ahead of Armegeddon.
With them, we relive those moments, that day — and the significant days since. Fortunately the film leaves us to recall the indelible images of flags and candles held aloft and funeral processions and stricken survivors. Windows on the World wasnâ€™t just a restaurant at a towerâ€™s top. It, indeed, looked out on all the frenetic, bustling, brawling and bombastic activities of the Big Apple, the city that is still both a pinnacle and a microcosm.
“WTC View” unleashes a torrent of raw emotions from a time never to be forgotten, regardless of what ties each of us to the event.
“WTC View” is a window into the lives of New Yorkers trying to cope with the unimaginable, trying to sort out pieces of the past that werenâ€™t wiped away by terrorism, and trying to view their future, and ours.
May 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm #15079
Jeff, who was a movie critic at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, gives a very insightful reviewÂ (above.)Â I will add just a few personal reactions after viewing the film again this afternoon.
The movie feels very much like a play, which essentially is all that it is. Almost no outdoor footage, and no “action” scenes….you get drawn in by the conversations between the characters as they tour Eric’s apartment.
Although we might like to think 9/11 is in the distant past, this movie makes us recognize how the shadows of that awful day still hang over the United States and the mood of our nation. If we take a minute or two to reflect, we can’t help admitting how our various responses to 9/11 — invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, killing of bin Laden, drone warfare in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, growing escalation of the US fight against ISIS,Â — have been futile. If terrorists intended to bleed us financially and psychologically, and to some extent demoralize us, they are succeeding.Â Small wonder a presidential candidate is surging simply by proclaiming “we’re not winning anymore….”
But back to the movie/play.Â Parts of it moved me, but by the final half-hour I was feeling too wrung out. I think it could have been ended with the scene with the bond trader, but perhaps that would have made for too happy an ending. The way it does end, however (which I won’t reveal here) left me confused and uncertain whether Eric really would recover from the trauma.
While this is mainly a young guys’ film, it speaks to us oldtimers, too, making us think of various turning points in our lives, and the roads not taken.
On a personal note, I do recall having recurring dreams about the Statue of Liberty getting blown up, and waking up feeling I needed to visit the landmark before the worst happened. So in the summer of 2004, I did make a trek to the Statue during a visit to NY, and also took the train into Manhattan to see Ground Zero, by that point cleared of debris but still just a gaping hole. The visit coincided with the Republican convention in NYC, and policemen were stationed literally on every street corner. I felt, and still feel, that my idea of America as a safe refuge had disappeared forever.
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