"The Path to 9/11" (2006 Docudrama)/Trade Reviews

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The following are trade reviews related to "The Path to 9/11" (2006 Docudrama).


"Perhaps unavoidably, ABC's The Path to 9/11 plays like a compendium of movies and documentaries surrounding that fateful day—a pinch of United 93 here, a dollop of World Trade Center there. Derived in part from the 9/11 Commission report, this five-hour presentation is earnest but scattered and a little plodding," Brian Lowry wrote September 3, 2006, in Variety.

It "is certainly ambitious, chronologically bracketed by the two assaults on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001. ... That project's breadth, however, ultimately seems to overwhelm writer Cyrus Nowrasteh and director David L. Cunningham, whose narrative has strong moments and stylish touches but only begins to coalesce well into the second night. Moreover, the material's complexity almost requires characters to deliver clunky, expository speeches, unlike the various documentaries covering this terrain," Lowry wrote.


"This extremely detailed dramatization of the events leading up to 9/11 moves very slowly, but provides a vivid (if somewhat biased) picture of our repeated, thwarted attempts to stop Osama bin Laden. The six-hour film plays like a 9/11 version of Syriana or Traffic, replete with ultra-close-ups and so much shaky, hand-held footage it can feel like being led around the world, half-drunk and half-blind," Heather Havrilesky wrote September 1, 2006, in Salon.

"More disturbing, though, is the way the filmmakers seem determined to link the Clinton administration's missteps to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Instead of offering us some indication of President Clinton's earnest efforts to stop Osama bin Laden, we're repeatedly treated to his most uneasy moments in the hot seat over Lewinsky, painting the president as a buffoon more interested in blow jobs than terrorists. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice gets that fated memo about planes flying into buildings, and makes it very clear to anyone who'll listen just how concerned President Bush is about these terrorist threats—despite the fact that we're given little concrete evidence of the president's concern or interest in taking action. Maybe my memory fails me, but the only person I remember talking about Osama bin Laden back in 1998 was President Clinton, while the current anti-terrorist stalwarts worked the country into a frenzy over what? Blow jobs. In the end, The Path to 9/11 feels like an excruciatingly long, winding and deceptive path, indeed," Havrilesky wrote.

Associated Press

"The Path to 9/11 will break your heart. It will leave you unnerved, even more than before. And angrier than ever," Frazier Moore, Associated Press Television Writer wrote September 6, 2006.

The film, Moore wrote, "doesn't forgo artistry for polemics. ... Even so, it drives home, step by step, a message any viewer can understand: The people in charge of keeping you safe failed the nation monumentally. Systemically. Shamefully. And continue to, five years after what should have been a terribly sufficient wake-up call.

"Then The Path to 9/11 leaves the viewer with a chilling coda: a recap of the 'report card' issued last December by the 9/11 Commission, which accused the government of failing to protect the nation against another attack, and assigned failing grades in five areas, with a dozen Ds and just one A (actually, A-minus)."

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