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Kathy Shaidle

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September 14, 2011 - 3:27 pm

2. Oliver Stone: black and white and wrong all over

You’re probably 9/11′d out, so file this one away for a later date:

Critic RICK MCGINNIS has a two-part series about September 11th on film, covering both documentaries and feature flicks like Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center — a work that should be screened for pre-teens everywhere, if only to convince them once and for all that cocaine is bad for you.

As McGinnis points out, Stone managed to not only make the right movie about the wrong heroes, but he even made one of those heroes the wrong color:

If there isn’t a rule that you can’t make a film where the protagonists are trapped and immobile, there should be one (and since every rule has an exception, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours might be the exception that proves it, but I digress).

In trying to avoid controversy, Stone makes his characters both politically and physically passive, a hopeless condition that’s only underlined by the character of Dave Karnes, the ex-Marine who put on his old uniform, left his home in Connecticut and drove to Ground Zero, where he and another ex-Marine named Jason Thomas walked into the still-smoking debris field to search for survivors.

The story of Karnes and Thomas, strangers until they met that day, is incredible. Karnes, 43 when he found Port Authority police officers Will Jemeno and John McLoughlin buried under the South Tower rubble, ended up re-enlisting in the Marines and serving two tours in Iraq.

Thomas never sought recognition for his rescue work, went by his last name only and never told his children what he did in the week after 9/11. When Stone made the film, he wasn’t aware that Thomas was black, and cast his role with a white actor.

PLUS: McGinnis compares films about 9/11 to those made about the Titanic, reviews the documentaries currently available, and speculates on how future filmmakers will treat the defining event of our times.

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