wtc.jpgFILM
Paramount Pictures
Now playing

Let me just say that I’m the most cynical person I know.  I went into this film not wanting to spend two hours with Nicholas Cage’s moustache and an overripe, maudlin re-telling of events that are still far too close to us.   Typically Oliver Stone waits a couple decades before trying to show us his viewpoint on world history, so this one was a quickie.  Once you get past the fromage factor in the first half-hour (there are actually TWO slow motion moments), this M.O.W. becomes a film and features some astonishing work.  The most striking parts of the picture are the reactions rather than the events.  While Cage and “Crash”‘s Michael Peña turn out great performances (Cage hasn’t been this good since “Leaving Las Vegas” and Peña could get a nod), the women outshine everything else.   Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal are the wives and mothers here, showing pluck and compassion throughout.  A three-minute scene between Bello and Viola Davis in a hospital waiting room is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in cinema of late.   There is fine work all-around in “World Trade  Center,” including small but shimmering appearances by Jay Hernandez, Stephen Dorff and Frank Whaley.   In the end, however, it is the men who fight the war, but the women who survive it.