29 May 2009 | timdalton007
Those Who Can Not Learn From The Past Are Doomed To Relive It
Having finally been able to get the DVD of this 1997 HBO film, is at down to watch it. By the time I finished it the old saying "those who can not learn from the past are doomed to relive it" was echoing in the mind. First shown four years after the first bombing of the twin towers (and four years before the events of 9/11) Path To Paradise reveals the series of close encounters, blunders and official in-decisions that led to the first bombing of the twin towers and the lessons we should have learned from them.
Path To Paradise features a nice cast of believable actors. Peter Gallagher and Marcia Gay Harden lead the cast as FBI agents John Anticev and Nancy Floyd who face not only the threats of terrorism but the lack of official interest from their superiors along with their NYPD counterpart Lou Napoli (Paul Guilfoyle). Art Malik, Andreas Katsulas, Shaun Toub and Tony Gillan are among those who plan and carry out the attack all of whom play their roles not as potential clichés but as real living people and make the film all the better for it. Of special mention is Ned Eisenberg as Emad Salem the man whom, if it had not been for skeptical FBI officials, could have potentially informed on the plot.
The film is also well produced. Despite being made for cable this film doesn't feel like a low-budget film at all with its production values particularly in its sets and New York City locations. The film's fascinating cinematography gives the film an almost documentary style at times. When all of these elements are combined with the script it all helps to give the film a sense of reality which makes the events taking place all the more disturbing.
The most disturbing thing about he film is its script. The events of the film are true (minus some dramatic license which is always necessary) and in hindsight are made even more shocking then they must have been when the film was first shown twelve years ago. The film reveals just how a group of men were able to smuggle a bomb into the World Trade Center. They did so thanks to the lack of Arabic translators, government agencies failing to pass information to each other, the FBI ignoring leads from a source and police departments being unable to pick up on clues. Worse then investigators inabilities to connect dots is the fact that many of these same things not only allowed the 9.11 attacks to take place but in some cases (such as the lack of translators) are issues that continue even today. Even more chilling is the ending which really did happen and looks all too prophetic today.
Path To Paradise is a film that should be essential viewing today. The film is not only well acted and produced but teaches us a lesson we should have learned sooner. The lesson of the film? That those who can not learn from the past are doomed to relive it. If you can find this film then watch it and learn from it.