Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hollywood’s 9/11 Blind Spot

A Los Angeles Times article recently began by noting that Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the Tom Hanks post-9/11 film which opens on Christmas, is one of the very few Hollywood productions to try to come to grips with the impact of September 11, 2001 on our national psyche. The piece then went on to ponder the question, “Why so few Sept. 11 films?” and concluded that “the film industry has tiptoed around this national tragedy.” Indeed it has, but not for the reasons suggested in the Times article.

The Times points out that there have been plenty of documentaries about the day and its aftermath, but ten years after the terrorist attacks, only two major feature films — Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Paul Greengrass' United 93 – have specifically dealt with the day in question, and “neither film was a roaring commercial success.”
“If anything,” the article continues, “the film industry has used the tragedy as an excuse to deluge TV and the multiplex with political thrillers focusing on terrorism,” citing Showtime's series Sleeper Cell and Homeland, the feature film The Kingdom, and the upcoming film by The Hurt Locker filmmakers about the killing of Osama bin Laden. An “excuse” to focus on terrorism? Sept. 11 was not some vague “tragedy”; it was a terrorist attack. The enemy pretty much did that focusing for us. In any case, none of those thrillers exactly set the box office or Nielsen ratings on fire either.

(Read the rest here at FrontPage Mag)