It was possibly the most atrocious monstrosity every pulled off on American soil. On September 11th, 2001, an entire world watched in horror as two jet hijacked commercial airplanes flew into the Twin Towers in New York City, killing thousands and destroying billions in property. In the instant wake of this tragedy was Etienne Sauret and his video camera capturing images and moments in time that will stay with American's forever. Presented in both its 11-minute and 48-minute expanded edition is Sauret's video diary of the events of 9/11.
To say that September 11th was a tragedy would be an understatement. I can recall watching from my parent's living room that morning as the second plane hit. Then the Pentagon was hit. Then the Towers collapsed. It was easily one of the hardest things I've ever had to watch. Over the course of the next week the images of these planes hitting the Towers would be replayed so often that they are now ghostly visions forever imprinted on my mind. WTC: The First 24 Hours is a man-on-the-street account of that first day. The film includes no narration or explanation of the events, and none are needed—the film's images say far more than enough. From "ground zero" to the inside of local NY delis and offices, WTC: The First 24 Hours offers a first hand glimpse at the sheer magnitude of the World Trade Center tragedy. A breathtaking shot overlooking the aftermath is both astounding and heartbreaking: it shows in one single pan what kind of evil man is capable of. If the feature seems a bit long at 48 minutes, maybe that's the point: in the span of only a few moments, time seemed to momentarily suspend itself in horror as our country lay in ruins. But like the heroes of 9/11, America picked itself up and moved onward and upward in the face of desolate destruction.
WTC: The First 24 Hours is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Dirty and washed out, this is exactly how the video is supposed to look. The fact is that a critical eye can't measure the video presentation on this disc—it is what it is, and what it's supposed to be. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo soundtrack falls into that same category. Wailing ambulances and screams can be heard in the background as the cameraman silently makes his way through the streets of New York. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this disc. The single extra feature available on this DVD is a short photo gallery of images from the WTC aftermath.
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