Saturday, April 29, 2006


True story
Some dialog in Arabic with English subtitles

Before September 2001, screeners, who were then hired by the airlines, often failed to detect threat objects located on passengers or in their carry on luggage. The principal causes of the screeners’ poor performance were rapid turnover and insufficient training. In fact, turnover rates exceeded 100 percent a year at most large airports because of low wages, limited payroll benefits and the repetitive, monotonous work. This left few skilled and experienced screeners.

The film uses mostly unknown actors and non-professional actors playing themselves. Very few of the passengers and crew are referred to by name and so they remain anonymous. People like Todd Beamer (who uttered the famous “let’s roll” command), Mark Bingham (who told his mother on the phone “we’re going to do something”), and the flight attendants who made calls to alert the authorities are all portrayed as just part of the group that reacted to the situation faced them. Consequently there are only a few of the cast that need be signaled out for their involvement:
Ben Sliney playing himself as FAA National Operations Manager
Maj. James Fox playing himself as commander of NEADS

Obviously this is not a film for everyone. Some will find it too painful to even contemplate going to see a film about a tragic event that has changed our lives forever.

Those who chose to see it will be rewarded with a superbly crafted movie that shows the behind-the-scenes activities that transpired that day. We get to see how things evolved from different perspectives: those aboard the plane, the personnel in the airport tower, air traffic controllers, military command headquarters and the cable “news” networks.

Every effort has gone into recreating the events that took place the morning of September 11, 2001. The feeling of “being there” is enhanced by not editing out the normal mistakes people make when under stress, like stumbling over their words or talking too rapidly to be easily understood. The use of a hand-held camera adds to the sense of realism with its blurry out-of-focus images.

For many this is a “must-see” movie.

for some language and brief violence.

The United States Government in 1958 created the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to be responsible for the safety of civil aviation. The safe and efficient use of navigable airspace is one of their primary objectives. They operate a network of airport towers and air route traffic control centres. The FAA develops air traffic rules, assigns the use of airspace, and controls air traffic.

A transponder is a wireless communications device that picks up and automatically responds to an incoming signal. The term is a contraction of the words transmitter and responder. Transponders can be either passive or active. Active transponders are employed in location, identification, and navigation systems for commercial and private aircraft. An example is a radio-frequency identification device that transmits a coded signal when it receives a request from a monitoring or control point. In military jargon this is called squawking. The transponder output signal is tracked, so the position of the transponder (the aircraft) can be constantly monitored.

In military or police operations, the rules of engagement (ROE) determine when, where and how force shall be used. The US Department of Defence officially defines ROE as:
"Directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered."

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is a bi-national United States and Canadian organisation charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace military control for all of North America.

With its headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, 1st Air Force is one of four assigned to Air Combat Command branch of NORAD. It has the responsibility on ensuring the air sovereignty and the air defence of the continental United States.

NEADS: NORAD's Northeast Air Defence Sector

It was Ben Sliney’s first day on the job which is the reason he was given a standing ovation by his fellow workers when he first enters the control room.

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