United 93

2006

United 93

Critics Consensus

Potent and sobering, United 93 treats the subject matter with respect, never resorting to Hollywood aggrandizement.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 211

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 129,253
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Movie Info

This is the story of the takeoff and hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93 by terrorists, the discovery by passengers with cell phones that other hijacked planes had been steered into the World Trade Center towers, and the realization that their plane was being steered toward Washington D.C.

Cast

Olivia Thirlby
as Nicole Carol Miller
Cheyenne Jackson
as Mark Bingham
Becky London
as Jean Peterson
Chip Zien
as Mark Rothenberg
Ben Sliney
as Himself
Leigh Zimmerman
as Christine Snyder
Denny Dillon
as Colleen Fraser
Chloe Sirene
as Honor Wainio
Christian Clemenson
as Thomas Burnett
Major James Fox
as Major James Fox
Corey Johnson
as Louis Nacke
Daniel Sauli
as Richard Guadagno
J.J. Johnson
as Capt. Jason Dahl
Gary Commock
as First Officer Leroy Homer Jr.
Polly Adams
as Deborah Welsh
Opal Alladin
as CeeCee Lyles
Starla Benford
as Wanda Anita Green
Trish Gates
as Sandra Bradshaw
Nancy McDoniel
as Lorraine Bay
Khalid Abdalla
as Ziad Jarrah
Lewis Alsamari
as Saeed al Ghamdi
Omar Berdouni
as Ahmed al Haznawi
Jamie Harding
as Ahmed al Nami
David Alan Basche
as Todd Beamer
Richard Bekins
as William Joseph Cashman
Susan Blommaert
as Jane Folger
Ray Charleson
as Joseph DeLuca
Liza Colon-Zayas
as Waleska Martinez
Lorna Dallas
as Linda Gronlund
Trieste Kelly Dunn
as Deora Frances Bodley
Kate Jennings Grant
as Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
Peter Hermann
as Jeremy Glick
Tara Hugo
as Kristin White Gould
Marceline Hugot
as Georgine Rose Corrigan
Joe Jamrog
as John Talignani
Masato Kamo
as Toshiya Kuge
Peter Marinker
as Andrew Garcia
Jodie Lynne McClintock
as Marion R. Britton
Libby Morris
as Hilda Marcin
Tom O'Rourke
as Donald Peterson
Simon Poland
as Alan Anthony Beaven
David Rasche
as Donald Freeman Greene
Erich Redman
as Christian Adams
Michael J. Reynolds
as Patrick Joseph Driscoll
John Rothman
as Edward P. Felt
Rebecca Schull
as Patricia Cushing
Tony Smith
as Himself
Patrick St. Esprit
as Major Kevin Nasypany
Gregg Henry
as Colonel Robert Marr
James Fox
as Himself
Shawna Fox
as Herself
Rick Tepper
as Himself
View All

News & Interviews for United 93

Critic Reviews for United 93

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (190) | Rotten (21)

  • This is first-rate, visceral filmmaking: taut, watchful, free of false histrionics, as observant of the fear in the young terrorists' eyes as the hysteria in the passenger cabin, and smart enough to know this material doesn't need to be sensationalized.

    Nov 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Greengrass takes pains to keep events believable and relatively unrhetorical, rejecting entertainment for the sake of sober reflection, though one has to ask how edifying this is apart from its reduction of the standard myths.

    Dec 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • It is the film of the year. I needed to lie down in a darkened room afterwards. So will you.

    Jun 3, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • United 93 might be an insular response to a global tragedy, but -- taken on its own, limited terms -- it is powerful and sincere, giving reign to pity and fear without indulging jingoism or sentimentality. For that at least it deserves applause.

    Jun 1, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is emotionally raw yet unsentimental; it shows people at their most pained and inspirational; it is both brilliant and troubling.

    May 16, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • This limitation in source material has had a peculiar effect on the script. Never is there a moment of repulsive sentimentality or exploitation, but neither is Greengrass able to realize an ultimate purpose.

    May 12, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for United 93

  • Nov 01, 2015
    Not a film that should be praised because of what it's about but it's a very gripping and powerful film, Very well acted but it's hard to watch as we all know what happens and people do need to watch this and remember that there was more than two planes that got hijacked that day.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2014
    Ladies and gentlemen, a firm contradiction to the classic statement, "Divided we fall, united we stand", because this thing is going down no matter what. Man, that's absolutely horrible, and I apologize for not helping myself, but hey, as of this review, it's been nearly thirteen years, so a lack of sensitivity isn't as nerve-racking as it was when this film came out, only five years after 9/11. It's Paul Greengrass, so you know that you're in for action, action and even more action, which, you know, shouldn't be offensive in the least. Well, Greengrass has always had something of a dry taste in action, so maybe we should be less worried about him getting carried away with spectacle when talking about subject matter as sensitive as 9/11, and more worried about his tastes in shaky cam. There's way too much turbulence going on in the "Bourne" movies, so one can only imagine how many vomit bags you're going to need on a crashing plane that makes you nervous enough because of which plane is being portrayed in this film. Man, even Oliver Stone held some blasted respect a couple months after this film came out, so you know that this film is going to watch its toes, lest it end up like "Pearl Harbor", because, you know, "Pearl Harbor" was much less respectful to the victims of the Pearl Harbor attacks than "Tora! Tora! Tora!". Yeah, that was a drama which got too caught up in its action for anyone to care as much as they probably should have, and it was still a little boring, although that isn't to say that this film is that much more captivating or, well, thoroughly characterized. As effective as this thriller often gets to be as an intimate portrait on a great tragedy, issues regarding a human factor are prominent throughout the film, and they all start back with underdevelopment, which is eventually made up for by rich characterization, but a plague on the film for the longest time as an opponent to the distinguishing of this narrative. The subject matter is recognizable enough to begin with, but that does not excuse Paul Greengrass' script for its formulaic interpretation of this story, which deserves to not be so predictable, certainly not in its progression, but in its overall structure, which you have plenty of, or rather, more than enough time to dissect. As under-expository as the film is, it still manages to drag its feet something fierce, until it finds itself jarring between segments focusing on the doomed plane occupants and segments focusing on the Federal Aviation Administration's handling of the situation, due to its spending too much time with each segment, and not typically for the sake of exposition, but rather, for the sake of realist meditations upon the events so exhaustive that, in addition to getting monotonous, they leave storytelling to fall slave to, not tone, but structure. When Greengrass' directorial tone goes empty, busily structured scenes focusing on anything from fast-pace FAA workings, to panic get on your nerves, while a number of scenes of overt meticulousness to the interpretation of approaches to a crisis situation defuse a sense of urgency, if not humanity. Very often, this thriller is plenty engaging, but just as often, it's bland, maybe even dull in its trying so blasted hard to be thorough and unromantic with the telling of a story whose impact is already limited by natural shortcomings, because as dramatically promising as this story concept is, it's just so minimalist, with a scope of such little dynamicity that it can take only a couple hiccups in the establishment of resonance for reward value to be lost. There is a fair bit of resonance here, enough so to provide glimpses into what could have been, and yet, there's something seriously lacking and - dare I say - monotonous about this drama which is either too restrained or too scrupulous to truly thrive. This film could have gone so far, and at the same time, it could have fallen so much flatter than it ultimately does, for although this dramatic thriller is surprisingly very underwhelming, what it does right it does pretty well in doing some justice to worthy subject matter. Everyone wants to go into this film preaching about the importance of its subject matter, but the truth is that this film is going to have to work hard in order to make its story as an ultra-realist portrayal of the happenings on and off of United Airlines Flight 93 on the horrifying day of September 11, 2001, dramatically striking, and yet, there's still a lot of intrigue to the story concept, whether it be found in actions taken during a dangerous event, or in the horror of the event itself. There are a lot of natural shortcomings to this story, and a lot more potential, and Paul Greengrass reflects this as writer, alone, and by that, I mean that he shines a light on potential both through developmental shortcomings and monotonous structuring which betray the potential, and through some genuinely realized dialogue and set pieces which tightly marry thorough realism and solid bite. This is a very intelligent script, it's just that it is so questionable in its attention to detail over true depth, thus, is plays an instrumental part in holding the final product so far back, as surely as a plays an instrumental part in reinforcing a degree of intrigue, largely in its providing plenty of material for the cast to at least work with with conviction. If there is any true dramatic resonance here, then it thrives on across-the-board convincing performances in a cast full of relative unknowns who sell the humanity of the roles much more effectively than Greengrass does, whether it be the Middle Eastern performers who sell the passion and fear of men prepared to die to kill for what they believe in, or the portrayers of the FAA members who sell the intensity in a struggle to keep calm, or the show-stealing portrayers of the plane passengers and crew who capture fear, comradery and a readiness to do what they can in order to survive. If the storytelling was nearly as inspired as the acting, we would be looking at a film which nails its vision of being intriguingly factual and dramatically resonant, although that isn't to say that Greengrass consistently fumbles, either as writer or as director. This film is an almost perfect showcase of everything that Greengrass does wrong, as director with films like this, from an annoying emphasis on background happenings, and a dizzyingly overdone shaky cam visual style which distances a sense of subjectivity, to an overt meditation on structure, which, in this case, is too, well, tedious to resonate, but what Greengrass does right as a director is also pretty well-displayed, particularly when he finds realization to his fastidious attention to tense material. Highlights in style and substance see some solid dramatic impact in a film that is generally so empty, yet very rarely so lacking that the final product falls flat as a misguided thriller, no matter how much its shortcomings challenge one's investment. In the end, the film explores little unique material, and even less expository material, carrying some dramatic vacancy as it meanders along almost monotonously meticulous structuring which reflect the minimalism of this subject matter so greatly that the final product falls as underwhelming, and even stands a chance of falling into mediocrity, ultimately transcended by the intelligent scripting, stylish direction and powerful acting which save Paul Greengrass' "United 93" as a fair and sometimes engrossing dramatization of the faithful events aboard a doomed plane on a faithful day in American history, even though it squanders so much potential. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2013
    I can't imagine anyone would really want to see this movie. But it's very well crafted and worth watching.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2013
    Paul Greengrass always manages to make the audience feel like they're right in the middle of the action, and "United 93" is arguably the best example of his ability as a director to do so. Edited at a remarkable pace and shot with documentary-like realism, "United 93" is a turbulent, emotional re-enactment of one of the nation's most infamous days that's both harrowing and invigorating at the same time, largely due to Greengrass' superb direction.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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