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Flight 93 Reviews

Director Peter Markle's made-for-cable movie steers clear of stereotyped Hollywood heroics and cliched suspense tactics to tell the story of United Flight 93, whose passengers rebelled against terrorist hijackers on September 11, 2001. It begins as copilots Leroy Homer Jr. (Biski Gugushe) and Jason Dahl (Barry W. Levy) cleared the Newark runway for a cross-country trip to San Francisco. The passenger manifest includes Todd Beamer (Brennan Elliott), Elizabeth Wainio (Laura Mennell), Tom Burnett (Jeffrey Nordling), Jeremy Glick (Colin Glazer), Lauren Grandcolas (Jacqueline Ann Steuart), Mark Bingham (Ty Olsson), and four Al Qaeda loyalists armed with knives and a homemade bomb. They soon take over the plane, after stabbing first-class passenger Mickey Rothenberg (Jerry Wasserman), slitting the throat of a stewardess and murdering both pilots. The first- and second-class passengers are herded together and, despite their captors' assurances that everything will be all right, they begin to wonder about the fact that no one has made any ransom demands. By the time the plane detours south, the passengers have learned that three other planes have made suicide crashes into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon, and they come to the inescapable conclusion that their plane is also going to be flown into a national landmark. As U.S. military commanders give the go-ahead for a missile strike against the plane headed toward the nation's capital, the doomed passengers phone their loved ones and make a joint decision to storm the cockpit and prevent a kamikaze dive into the White House. Flight 93 crashed at Shanksville, Penn., after a trip that lasted one hour and 53 minutes. Although supposition must inevitably accompany any account of what happened aboard Flight 93 (die-hard conspiracy theorists have even suggested that the passengers may not have breached the cockpit and that the missile interception wasn't aborted), this sober account pays equal attention to what transpires aboard the plane, at the workstations of air-traffic controllers and in the living rooms of the passengers’ loved ones. Screenwriter Nevin Schreiner refrains from using the victims' backstories and tearful cell-phone farewells to sentimentalize the tragedy, and Markle keeps the action moving fluidly while guiding his cast of unfamiliar faces through a remarkable ensemble performance.