United 93

Colosseum (4005939674021)
Varèse Sarabande (0030206674026)
Movie | Release date: 06/06/2006 | Film release: 2006 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track   Duration
2.Pull The Tapes4:14
3.Take Off3:07
4.2nd Plane Crash2:27
5.Making The Bomb3:57
6.The Pilots1:21
7.The Pentagon1:43
8.Phone Calls10:49
9.The End5:50
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United 93 - 04/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
I must be honest; I'm not sure I'll watch any of the films about 9/11. I'm not American and I don't personally know anyone who died, but watching it play out on television, as many millions did, it's an experience nobody can forget and not one I have any desire to relive, no matter how well intentioned. It's just a crushing shame that the American government has seemingly squandered all the goodwill the rest of the world was willing to give after the events. Paul Greengrass is used to making intense movies, from Bloody Sunday to The Bourne Supremacy, and ideally placed (as far as a Hollywood director can be) to bring such events to celluloid.

After his fine collaboration with John Powell on the second Jason Bourne film, Greengrass evidently felt comfortable working with the composer, but in truth, United 93 is not a film that really needs much music. The album rather confirms that supposition with its largely subliminal sound design. So much effort has gone into not sentimentalising or overplaying events that there's almost nothing left in most cues. Prayers features some raw, but effective, vocals from Powell Junior, but for a long stretch in the middle of the album, it sounds like low budget TV scoring of percussion loops. The Pentagon features some surging string and horn chords, but hardly satisfying as pure music.

Unsurprisingly, the lengthy Phone Calls doesn't easily sustain its almost 11 minute run time, but there is a little more genuine drama here as the percussive tempo increases, segueing into The End where United 93's fate is sealed. Here Powell allows the orchestra more than a passing phrase and provides a fittingly powerful, tense, but surprisingly elegiac statement for those final minutes. I question whether anyone can really enjoy The End given the events it accompanies, they aren't the kind of images I want conjured up by a film score. Dedication is the predictably hymnal finale, providing some small measure of closure.

It's difficult to be convinced that United 93 needed a soundtrack release. Only the final two cues have any great musical merit, but the connotations of one are so raw and terrifying that I doubt I'll even be inclined to play the album again. As a brief memorial to 9/11, Dedication is as fine as any and allows Powell to express some mature emotions. With this, Ice Age 2 and X-Men 3, Powell has clearly become a master of every genre and United 93 is almost exactly what one would expect from a film of this nature and the rating certainly doesn't reflect any lack of skill on Powell's part.
This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Big Fish (2003), Danny Elfman (Movie)
The Unfolding, Dead Can Dance (Trailer)
Baraka (1992), Michael Stearns (Movie)

Other releases of United 93 (2006):

United 93 (2006)

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