12 April 2004 | lellison
Fool me once, shame on you....
Being among the first to contribute to the user comments, I feel somewhat on thin ice on this one.
I noticed on the comments threads that several viewers thought the timing was wrong for this subject, and that it was a Republican billboard during an election year. All that aside, I did watch the complete movie, despite the many commercial interruptions. Flow and continuity is important to any pseudo documentary (which is how I would classify this work), documentary, or docudrama. It was difficult enough following the many different locations and mini-plots. To accurately depict the depth and scope of this topic, much more time is needed, and the many commercial breaks would have to be eliminated, which obviously won't happen on a network movie. All of the historical events visited, although based in fact, were given only a token presentation, and were intertwined with fictional characters and plots.
It is entirely possible that the writers of this movie were attempting to accurately show the progression of the Middle East terrorism threat from the early 90's through post 9/11. Unfortunately, the span of this topic just can't be fit into the traditional movie length. Think about doing justice to War And Peace or The Godfather in 90 minutes.
The single redeeming part of this movie might be a rather corny and feeble attempt at showing all of us how the Department of Homeland Security was formed, it's makeup, and it's function. However, one would do better to pick up a copy of last week's Newsweek for a more fulfilling explanation.
Reflecting back on this movie, I feel like I watched 7 years of history on a fast-forward videotape. We all know the historical facts quite well, and most of this was a review of the high and low points, spiced up (or down) with soap opera style emotional tidbits.
Yes, if the purpose of this presentation is strictly entertainment, the timing is wrong (and always will be). If enlightenment is the target, it missed the mark and might stand accused of being sloppy historical revisionism. Politically, it did lean rather heavily toward the right. The historical time line is full of holes, which were plugged with emotional sugar lumps. Technically fairly well written, acted, and directed.
I was comfortable with this movie right after watching it, but having written the preceding, I now am not very pleased with it. There's a bit too much of an Oliver Stone undercurrent. Take it with a grain of salt, and don't expect too much.