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'WTC' Opens, Viewers React

Questions and controversy have followed Oliver Stone's new film, "World Trade Center," throughout its production. Some people have wondered whether Stone, who has made a number of controversial films, was the right person to direct a movie on such a delicate subject as the 9/11 attacks. Others worried that it is still "too soon," for a film like this, especially with the fifth anniversary of the attacks coming up next month.

Now that the film has been released in theaters, those who see it can decide for themselves.

Brian, who saw the movie Wednesday morning at New York's Ziegfeld Theater, was one who was not impressed.

"I thought it was really hokey and somewhat overwrought," he said. "It's just huge budget and spectacle … there's nothing really provocative about it."

Roberta Hill disagrees. Hill, who has lived in New York since 1983, found the film not only provocative, but very real.

"Those two cops are down there and they're so thirsty — and I'm feeling like a bastard because I'm sitting here with a full water bottle and I can't give it to them. I mean, that's pretty real," she said.

2The two cops are John McLaughlin and Will Jimeno, two Port Authority policemen who were among the few people to be pulled out alive from the rubble of the collapsed twin towers. Their remarkable story is the basis for "World Trade Center." Stone hired the two as paid consultants in order to ensure the film's accuracy.

However, it's this accuracy that has some people worrying whether the film may be too traumatic for some to see.

Phil believes that is a personal decision.

"I can imagine for some, the film would be upsetting," he said. "For others, it may have the opposite effect — it could be empowering, it might help them deal with their feelings of what happened that day."

Questions of whether it is too soon for a film like this, Phil says, are "nonsense."

"This movie should have been made three or four years ago," he said. "This is a story that needs to be told."

Stone, the man behind such controversial films such as "JFK" and "Born on the Fourth of July," also thought the story needed to be told. Viewers who saw "World Trade Center" on Wednesday morning did not find a political agenda within the film, unlike many of his previous efforts.

"I think Oliver Stone did an unusually restrained job for him," Roberta Hill said.

"There's not one hint of what his politics might be," Phil agreed. "If I didn't know Oliver Stone made this film, I wouldn't have given it a second thought."

However, Brian thought the lack of message was detrimental to the film.

"This movie won't stir up any controversy," he said. "It's weird coming from a guy who probably made the most controversial movies in the United States. You can say he 'sold out,' perhaps."

All four moviegoers that The ShowBuzz spoke to believed the movie would resonate with both New Yorkers and the rest of the country. They also did not think it was too soon for the film's release.

"Even if you're not from New York, people all across the country knew people who were down [at Ground Zero] … I assume we all felt the same way," Dawn Cojak said. "[The film] did a good job on what normal Americans went through on that day.

"Some people will never be ready for this movie, and others were ready four years ago," she continued. "But it's a movie that people need to see. I might even see it again."

By Jessica Derschowitz