Universal // 2003 // 35 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // March 3rd, 2005
"My biggest fear is not comin' home to my kids." -- Joseph Vigiano, March 2001
At the time of the release of this Twin Towers DVD, it had been just over three years since that horrific Tuesday morning when America, a sleeping giant of sorts, was startled into wakefulness when evil operatives from a destitute country attempted to bring the globe's Superpower to its knees. In a most insidious act of attempted terrorism (read: cowardice), suicidal lackeys hijacked American commercial airliners and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a site bustling as usual with thousands of innocent Americans and foreign nationals. Soon the towers would collapse from the twin impacts, ultimately claiming the lives of 3,000 innocent civilians. Among those lost were many of New York's finest police officers and fire fighters. This short film, an intended-TV-pilot-turned-on-site-account began with the premise to follow the daily activities of NYPD's Emergency Services Squad 3 with a special focus on the highly decorated Joseph Vigiano and his brother and firefighter, John Vigiano, Jr., both of whom died as they rushed to the World Trade Center to save lives. Sadly, their very proud, also highly decorated, and now deeply bereaving father, John Vigiano, Sr., is left behind to tell their story.
This production was originally intended to serve as the pilot for a reality show created by Law and Order producer Dick Wolf that would showcase the brave men and women of the public service sector, the true heroes we all take for granted each day. But, much like the Naudet brothers' 9/11 documentary, the original premise of a show featuring the selfless acts of New York's crime fighters and fire fighters turned into a somber account of the worst situation to ever transpire on American soil. In Twin Towers, the first image we see is that of the first plane slamming into one of the Trade Center towers, leaving us to watch in agonizing slow motion as the second plane hits the opposite tower and, ultimately, as both buckle and disintegrate before our eyes. With several years now since passed, we're reminded how startling and how angering this situation was and continues to be, the images shaking us into the reality of what transpired. Then, we are taken back six months, where we see the footage originally intended for this production, are introduced to the crew who make up Emergency Services Squad 3, and are offered a focused look at the highly-revered Joseph Vigiano. We follow the squad on all manner of nail-biting tasks, from drug busts to dangerous rescues, and learn this highly specialized team has been trained to respond professionally and capably to almost any police or emergency situation. Vigiano is special, though, and interviews with his fellow squad members bear this out. We're also shown a candid interview with John Vigiano, Sr., who beams with pride over the work and worthiness of his two boys, Joe and John Jr. And then it's back to September 11th, and we again witness the aircrafts mercilessly navigated into the World Trade Center towers, the crumbling of both, and the realization that both Joe and John Jr. have been lost to us as they responded to the crisis. John Sr. is still proud but no longer beams with vivacity and is, instead, so empty inside from the devastating loss he has had to endure. Post-9/11 interviews with surviving squadmates impart that the same sense of loss has been sustained by all who knew and revered Joe and John Jr. It's not a happy ending, and, although this production runs just a scant 35 minutes, the harsh reality and reminder of what happened that day seems to go on forever. The most poignant point comes when we realize that this is just one story out of thousands that chronicles the life-altering after-effects of our nation's most devastating moment; let us remember that this pain, this loss, and this anger is affecting thousands of others directly impacted by this tragedy who must wake up every day to relive the atrocity of 9/11.
On this new DVD from Universal, Twin Towers is presented in high-quality fashion. The image, presented in a 1.33:1 full-frame format, is very clean and very vibrant. Most striking is the level of color that saturates the pre-9/11 sequences (some on less-than-enjoyable crime scenes), which is starkly contrasted with the drawn-out gray tones of ground zero following the catastrophe. The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that's perfectly suitable and always discernible. There are no extras on the disc.
Thankfully, Twin Towers is free of politics, the sickening sort that would like to blame the other side of the aisle for this unwanted and unwarranted atrocity in hopes of gaining political traction. As this documentary reminds us, there were real people affected by this attack and to exploit them for political gain in any manner of unconscionable demagoguery is equally sickening and a threat to our national unity. And while we must resist lashing out in prejudicial fashion at a foreign culture and its presence among us, we must never forget the barbarism unleashed upon innocent Americans and peaceful internationals legally within our borders, those murdered by the most vile sort of beings who infect the human race.
Twin Towers is nothing to be called "entertaining" but another very important account of what took place on that unsuspecting Tuesday morning. See it, remember what happened, and remember those brave individuals who were taken from us while they honorably upheld their personal oaths to serve others. God bless them all, and God bless America.
Review content copyright © 2005 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 35 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated