From Fahrenheit 9/11 to The Newsroom: How September 11 attacks were portrayed on screen

It may have been 15 years since the deadly terror attacks at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon occured, but it's not one to be forgotten anytime soon. Such was its global impact that we started to approach the portrayal of terrorists on screen in a much more black and white manner.

The 9/11 attacks have its base in how we deal with the portrayal of terrorism in films today; it's an unfortunate benchmark. Here are five films with important, thought-provoking portrayals of the ill-fated day and its subsequent impact.

Fahrenheit 9/11


The Poster of Fahrenheit 9/11. Image from Facebook.

This Michael Moore documentary's scathing attack on the war in Iraq and George W Bush's presidency is informative, provocative, compelling and, most of all, entertaining. The docu graphs, among other things, the personal relationship between President at the time George W Bush and the family of terrorist Osama bin Laden. A very detailed take on how the country dealt with the aftermath of the attack, and a breakdown of the American political system. This one is a must watch.

Reign Over Me

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You tube screen grab.

One of the few films in which Adam Sandler does not play a dumbfounded man-child, Mike Binder's Reign Over Me deals with a married man who loses his wife and children in the attack. His world falls apart, until he meets his old college roommate. This film is a much lighter take on 9/11, as opposed to the others on the list, but also far more real in terms of plausibility. Reign Over Me is a film more about friendship and less about the actual attacks.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


Youtube screen grab.

Based on a book by the same name, written by Jonathan Safran Foer, this Academy Award nominee has a cast that can do no wrong. With Tom Hanks, Viola Davis and Sandra Bullock, the real clincher of the film is its protagonist Thomas Horn, who plays a boy who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks. When he finds a key left behind by his father, he plays a little game of scavenger hunt, not realising he is searching more fore his long-gone father than the lock that fits his key. Keep them tissues ready.

United 93


The poster of United 93. Image from Facebook.

This film is the closest to get to the actual events of the United Airlines flight number 93 that was hijacked on 9/11. The film recounts the series of events that occurs in-flight in real time, on the day. While you know how this powerful film ends, United 93 is still a nail-bitter. The best thing about this film is its ability to focus on micro emotions at the face of the largest terror tragedy of the modern world. United 93 refrains from being jingoistic and racist, and only chronicles the edge-of-the-seat action.

The Newsroom, Season 1 Episode 7

The Newsroom Season one. Image from Facebook.

We always leave the best for the last. When The Newsroom first came out in 2012, the HBO show used real global events to further its narrative of a TV newsroom that tries to stay true to real tenets of journalism by reporting earnest stories, in a time when good TV was taking precedence over news.

After graphing the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Boston marathon bombing (episode seven, which yours truly thinks is the best episode of all three seasons) graphs the capturing of Osama Bin Laden, which occurred on 1 May, 2011. The episode first deals with information around the capture and its sources.

How do news producers put out such a crucial piece of evidence that Osama has been caught, without any official sources willing to go on record? How does a TV newsroom aim to be the first ones to break news while also keeping one of the biggest celebratory secrets among themselves? Episode seven is a razor-sharp, crackling take on Osama's capture from the point of view of a TV newsroom. If you're an aspiring journalist, this is an informative episode to watch on how to cover events of global importance.

Updated Date: Sep 11, 2016 11:22 AM

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