8 October 2001 | handle1
An amazing movie, especially in light of recent events
Warning: Contains minor plot spoilage
When I first watched the movie a year or so ago, the first thing that really caught my attention in the beginning of the movie was the first explosion. There was no ludicrous running from the explosion like you see in most action movies. Washington's character blinked because of the explosion flash and then was thrown on his tail by the force of the detonation. Because he was facing the explosion he received a bloody noise from the air concussion (before even hitting the ground), and he couldn't hear after the explosion. They also showed him in shock right after the explosion. The impact of the explosion on inanimate objects was also more accurate. You could clearly see the inverse falling off effect of distance from the explosion.
Glass shattering was shown in slow motion at the same slow mention speed as the fireball moving in the background. These are details of things that happen in real life that I haven't seen in any other movie, action or otherwise. And that was a very small thing about the movie that impressed me.
I think the story line is extremely plausible and appropriately complex (which I thought before 9/11). The analysis of the culture of the terrorists was very accurate compared to most movies dealing with the topic. The terrorists weren't demonized and their motives were examined and explained in a well balanced way.
I think Bruce Willis does the movie a disservice, although it is his history of action and mediocre characters that hurts the movie, not his actual acting in the movie. The complexity of his character is interesting. The movie leaves it up to interpretation whether General Devereaux is really reluctant to impose martial law on New York, or whether he just tells the congressional committee what they want to hear in order to get himself in. Devereaux is definitely the "bad guy" in the movie, but not because he is portrayed as the nexus of evil, but because his world-view allows him to rationalize actions that are un-American.
One of the biggest criticisms that I have seen of the movie is that the end of the movie is not believable because of the martial law that is imposed on New York City. But if two or three more significant attacks happen to New York City, I won't be surprised at all if martial law is declared there.
I always thought the movie was excellent, but with the events in recent days, the impact of the movie has definitely ratcheted up a few notches.