Thursday, April 27, 2006

In a way, we're all heroes. In another, more accurate way, we're not.

It doesn't take long for a story to become separated from the event it depicts. The NY Times on Paul Greengrass making the film "Flight 93":
Not everyone could charge the cockpit along the narrow aisle of a 757 jetliner, family members concede. But they believe strongly that everyone did what he could in the face of horrific fear and certain death — consoling, encouraging, planning, praying.
"It's a very difficult situation," said Carole O'Hare, whose mother, Hilda Marcin, was a passenger. "You don't want to cause problems between families, but I don't understand the thinking that someone should be highly elevated from someone else. What is to be gained?"

Mr. Greengrass seemed to understand the delicacy of this issue acutely when he made his film and succeeded in depicting a group-inspired defiance, Mrs. O'Hare and relatives of other passengers said in telephone interviews. "I think they went out of their way to reinforce that it was 40 fantastic individuals who banded together to affect change in a drastic situation," said Gordon Felt, whose brother, Edward, was a passenger.
Mr. Greengrass was inclusive in his depiction of valor: Donald Greene announces to other passengers that he is a pilot and may be able to fly the jetliner if the hijackers can be overtaken. When they are, Mr. Nacke, a toy company executive with a weightlifter's physique, holds aloft a bomb wrestled from one of the terrorists and yells that it is a fake... Flight attendants try to calm the passengers and later boil water and hand out forks and knives as weapons.
So the film is largely a concession to sensitive viewers and to civic pride (whether patriotism or a broader pride), instead of the filmmaker's best guess as to what happened.