Movie Review: 102 Minutes That Changed America

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“Time is passing. Yet for the United States of America. There will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honour. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – President Bush

On the morning of September 11th 2001, the world bore witness to one of the worlds worst terror attacks in the western world, when 2,977 people were killed and more than 6,000 were injured. Terrorists hijacked four planes which were used as weapons to attack the World Trade Centre and The Pentagon. Many of those that were killed were members of the New York Fire and Police departments who had courageously been doing their jobs to save the lives of innocents. It is a day that many will never forget and in some people’s opinions, changed the modern world, as we know it.

As we pass another anniversary of this terrible atrocity, there is one history documentary that I suggest to all to watch, and that is 102 Minutes That Changed America. Released in 2008, and marking the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the film is produced by the History channel and is commercial-free. The film has won numerous awards for its editing.

The film uses film footage from ordinary citizens who were present during the atrocity. It uses, in the main, primary sources as the tragedy unfolds. The documentary starts on the morning of the incident and quickly gathers pace as the first plane hits the World Trade Centre. You watch it without taking a breath. You watch it in horror and disbelief. This is the moment that changed the world, not just America. The incident is one of those times in history that everyone remembers what they were doing when it happened.

Whenever this documentary is on, I always intend to watch just five minutes, butr an hour later, I am still watching. It grips you. The raw emotion, fear and adrenaline is recorded live for you. You are immediately transported back to your own personal feelings on the actual day the incident occurred. There is no censorship, the documentary captures every emotion. Even though you know the outcome, you continue to watch the horror unfold.

Watching the documentary makes you feel like you are watching an action movie. It is almost as if there are multiple cameras and the public are the actors. At times it is easy to forget that this is peoples lives that are being affected and changed forever in front of your very eye, but we must never forget that this is real, and not a film set.

It is live film making, fantastically edited, which runs seamlessly together. There is no musical soundtrack however there is one part which always sticks out in my mind. There is a scene in which a survivor is coming away from the collapsed towers. Dust and debris are strewn everywhere. You suddenly hear music from an abandoned park ride. The park is abandoned and covered in dust, debris and paper. The music is an eerie backdrop to the utter chaos and devastation the camera is showing in front of your eyes.

The world has changed since this terrorist attack. When you watch the documentary, you are reminded of the current climate we live in. I believe this documentary should serve as a reminder of how fragile life is and not just focus on the evil in the world, but of the strength and courage of normal, hard-working everyday people who fought bravely for their lives and to save others. 102 Minutes That Changed America is a superb, unique documentary and worthy of its accolades.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding