Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzmán, Wood Harris, Olga Fonda, Jacqueline Bisset, Billy Malone, Bruce Davison, Faune Chambers Watkins, Whitney Avalon, Dahlia Waingort, April Betts, Brian J. Singer, Ian Fisher
Written by: Martin Guigui, Steven James Golebiowski, based on a play by Patrick James Carson
Directed by: Martin Guigui
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 90
Date: 09/08/2017

9/11 (2017)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Tower of Terror

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Not the out-and-out disaster it looked to be, this well-meaning 9/11 drama is instead overwrought and acerbic, and doesn't really make the connection between its fictional situation and the real one. Actually using the title 9/11 may be part of the problem, suggesting a bigger picture than is actually presented.

In 9/11, wealthy Wall Street trader Jeffrey Cage (Charlie Sheen) heads to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001 to finalize a divorce from his wife, Eve (Gina Gershon), even though he wants to reconcile. Bike messenger Michael (Wood Harris) is there to deliver some envelopes, and pretty Tina (Olga Fonda) has gone to break up with her sugar daddy.

Custodial engineer Eddie (Luis Guzman) is headed to unclog a toilet. All five get on the same elevator when the first plane hits the building, trapping them inside. At the control desk, Metzie (Whoopi Goldberg) does her best to help. But meanwhile, the five's personal demons begin to emerge during the tense hours in the ever-more-precarious elevator.

Writer Patrick Carson also wrote his story into a play, entitled Elevator, which was performed in 2011, and perhaps it was better left in that format. Director Martin Guigu's attempts to expand the story with real-life footage of the attacks is honorable but misguided.

As good as some of these actors are, the way they rush into "deeply meaningful" conversation is somewhat absurd, even though their dialogue is balanced out by the occasional ordinary chit-chat. Producer and top-billed Charlie Sheen tries to steal scenes from time to time, and his efforts don't add much to the whole.

Some controversy has sprung up over his casting, given his past "truther" remarks, although, to be fair, in a current interview in the Hollywood Reporter, he has apologized. We should never forget 9/11, but perhaps it might be a good idea to forget this movie.

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