. <i>World Trade Center</i> and <i>United 93</i>

Marc Redfield

in The Rhetoric of Terror

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241118 | DOI:
. World Trade Center and United 93

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Since the attacks of September 11 inscribed a trauma in the very fabric of a culture of spectacle, big-budget films could not fail to be made about the attacks, and could not fail to be made and received nervously. As the film reduces its star, Nicolas Cage, to bits of ash-covered, burned face, framed and cropped by rubble, this anticinematic movement inevitably becomes an exaggeration of the celebratory close-up of a star. On the one hand, the star's acting skills transcend his temporary defacement (the defacement, in fact, allows the star to assert himself as an artist: Cage reportedly spent hours in a sensory-deprivation tank to prepare for this role); on the other hand, the star's fragmentation registers the aggressivity with which this film turns on itself, reducing spectacle to a minimum in its most intense moments, yet always necessarily rediscovering itself as “movie.”

Keywords: spectacle; World Trade Center; United 93; Nicholas Cage; film; movie

Chapter.  2339 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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