'WTC' climbs out from under the rubble of 'United 93'
Issue date: 8/11/06 Section: Entertainment
Find this first when a buried Jimeno attempts to make conversation with McLoughlin by citing a typical tough-guy credo (here attributed to Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane) that "pain is good; pain means that you're alive." In the sense that physical pain is all that Jimeno and McLoughlin can feel while trapped, their only refuge comes from within their minds as they think of better times with their wives. This is where the film rests for most of its running time, but what the film realizes is that even these images bring terrible pain. Recalling the ghosts of our past will only bring pain and disappointment, not only in the sense that we regret being unable to relive them, but also in the sense that our memories are always sunnier than how we lived them. This is particularly true of McLoughlin's flashbacks - which coincide with those of his wife Donna (Maria Bello), who is left at home wondering if her husband is alive or not - so mired in wonderful thoughts of family moments that they are blind not only to the tragedy at hand (itself a kind of submission), but also to its own reality. Although politicians are often heard throwing around the phrase "pre-9/11 mindset" at opponents, one must also understand that the pre-9/11 mindset was also one of willful ignorance in its time - we never, ever lived in the perfect world of our memories, personally, professionally or politically.