16 February 2018 | Michael_Elliott
Deeply Flawed But It Held My Attention
** (out of 4)
Jeffrey Cage (Charlie Sheen) and his wife (Gina Gershon) are in the North Tower of the World Trade Center where she is wanting him to sign some divorce papers. The two of them get on an elevator shared with Michael (Wood Harris), Tina (Olga Fonda) and Eddie (Luis Guzman) when they feel a violent shake and the elevator gets stuck. They soon learn from an elevator worker (Whoopi Goldberg) what is going on outside.
9/11 got released to some of the worst reviews that you're ever going to read. This was meant to be Sheen's big dramatic comeback picture but it barely got a release and what critics did see the picture really ripped it to pieces. Some called it a shameful piece of exploitation while others just called it a poorly made and acted film. This obviously wasn't the first film to take on that day and it wasn't even the first to use the 9/11 title. With that being said, the film certainly has some major flaws but at the same time it's not quite as bad as they made it out to be.
I think the biggest problem with the film is that the screenplay is based on fiction. There are so many stories of bravery that day and I'm not sure why the writer would elect to tell a fake story. Did they not want to pay someone for their story? I'm not sure what their reasons were but they picked a pretty poor story that would have been better suited for an Irwin Allen disaster picture. The entire subplot of the divorce leads to some very silly scenes and some even poorer dialogue. I won't ruin what happens to the people in the elevator but the ending is pretty bad on many levels.
With that said, I must say that I thought the performances were good for the most part and that includes the actors playing the people in the elevator. I thought Guzman was extremely good in his role as was Harris. Sheen also had some decent moments but I don't think the performance is what he would have hoped for. None of the actors were done any favors though because the dialogue is just pretty poor at times and the director never really builds up any tension throughout the time we're with these people in the elevator.
Another problem was that the film was shot 2.35:1, which really wasn't a wise move in a film like this where you're meant to feel claustrophobic in a tight space. It seems like I'm bashing most of the film but I will say that it held my attention throughout. The film was obviously working with a very small budget, which didn't help things and while the film isn't a success, I think it's bad reputation is a bit too harsh.