A number of big-ticket Hollywood films primarily based on real-life tragedies have imagined what it might be like if a fictional romance-novel plot had been going down amid all of the catastrophe. Befitting its smaller scope and massive tedium, 9/11 imagines what it might be like if a foul Off-Off-Broadway play had been going down amid the September 11th terrorist assault on the World Commerce Middle. The reply invitations bad-taste jokes earlier than even attending to its casting of Charlie Sheen in a lead position.
Sheen performs addled billionaire Jeffrey Cage, whose identify and obscure occupation have the excellence of sounding each like a Nicolas Cage character and Nicolas Cage himself (the Cage-like overacting comes a lot later). Jeffrey is on the World Commerce Middle to reluctantly finalize a divorce from his spouse, Eve (Gina Gershon)—so reluctantly that he attends this early-morning assembly on the well-known constructing (the place, the film factors out repeatedly however to little level, he used to personal some workplace house, however doesn’t anymore) simply to dick round, try to wistfully smoke a cigarette, and refuse to signal.
Jeffrey and Eve enter an elevator collectively within the South Tower at simply the fitting/flawed fateful time. The primary aircraft hits the North Tower, the facility goes out, and the sad couple is trapped with three strangers: “janitorial engineer” Eddie (Luis Guzmán), bike messenger Michael (Wooden Harris), and obvious trophy girlfriend Tina (Olga Fonda). Eddie and Michael each have households ready for them. Tina, in a quick gesture that the film in some way doesn’t spin off right into a hacky clarification, signifies she doesn’t. Eddie manages some exterior communication along with his buddy Metzie (Whoopi Goldberg), who works down on the elevator management middle however doesn’t appear to know an entire lot about elevators. (She additionally doesn’t appear to understand how getting espresso to-go works; early on, she pops right into a diner, will get espresso in a ceramic mug, and takes it together with her onto the road.)
Though it’s padded with low-cost response pictures of tearful households watching TV, most of 9/11 alternates between the low-tech mechanics of the right way to get out of a stopped, locked elevator and Breakfast Membership-style locked-room dialog. Each sections function unnaturally lengthy pauses between traces and unsuccessful makes an attempt to resolve the issue of taking pictures in a small, static house by pitching the digicam ahead. Whereas it’s not confined strictly to the elevator, the one location pictures come from actual information footage, which director Martin Guigui lingers on shamelessly.
If the half-hearted escape makes an attempt aren’t filmed with any actual pressure by Guigui, they’re much less galling than the would-be defiance of expectations. Get this: It’s the black man, Michael, who’s outwardly racist! Fortunately, Gershon’s character is there to unironically lecture Michael about not prejudging her hard-working billionaire almost-ex. To make clear, it is a film co-written by considered one of Charlie Sheen’s producers on Anger Administration whereby Sheen performed a hard-working billionaire who had no discernible character flaws aside from working too arduous to help his household and loving his spouse an excessive amount of to divorce her.
Sheen spends the final half-hour of the film promising jobs and riches to the plucky minorities who do a lot of the precise bodily labor concerned in prying open elevator doorways, after which, lastly, unleashes some sweaty scenery-chewing as their dire state of affairs grows worse. However finally these actors don’t deserve a lot blame, aside from their unhealthy judgment in signing on to a film that appears to be keen itself into existence in opposition to all purpose. The screenplay by Guigui and Steven James Golebiowski is, because the intimate setting suggests, primarily based on a play, apparently written by Patrick Carson as a screenplay and later transformed right into a play, solely to have it re-adapted into a brand new script.
This tenacity suggests, puzzlingly, that the individuals behind 9/11 actually consider in it. By invoking September 11th, this film is asserting that it has one thing to say. New Yorkers might acknowledge this confidence and the nothingness that follows; it’s the movie equal of a man loudly demanding the eye of everybody in a subway automotive, then refusing to even situation a compellingly unusual rant. Greatest to slide on some headphones and attempt to ignore it.