TIM FANNING MY VIEW
The stories of 9/11 continue to fascinate 12 years after those horrendous events…
No matter how many times you watch those planes flying into the Twin Towers, you can’t help but feel a sense of shock. Similarly, more than a decade after the attacks on New York, there are still fascinating stories emerging about the events of that world-changing day.
To be honest, flicking through the TV schedules precipitated a sense of déjà vu. How many more documentaries can be made about 9/11? British producer/director Steve Humphries has forged a career from making films about that awful day, but, still, his The Lost Hero Of 9/11 (Monday, Ch4) was compelling, and showed that if the story’s strong enough, you don’t need to jazz it up with intrusive trickery.
The hero of the title was Jason Thomas, a native New Yorker who was dropping his young daughter off at his mother’s on the way to law school when he heard what had happened. Instead of turning on TV and watching the awful scenes on the rolling news channels, Thomas, a former marine, put on his uniform, which he kept in the boot of his car, and drove straight to lower Manhattan. What makes a human being run towards danger, when our instinct is to do the opposite? One reason posited here was that Thomas had been taught by his parents to look out for his brother man.
When Thomas arrived at Ground Zero, emergency service chiefs were pulling out their crews because it was deemed too unsafe for them to work on the debris field. But Thomas felt he could help and began searching through the great mounds of masonry, red-hot metal and dead bodies for any sign of survivors. His efforts were rewarded when he heard the faint call of a human voice; it was that of Port Authority police officer Will Jimeno, trapped deep underneath the rubble in what had once been the concourse beneath the Towers.
Humphries let the interviewees tell the stories against plain black backgrounds. The hellish images of the remains of the Towers were more than enough to fill out this simple but effective film. Though the subject matter was depressing, this was an uplifting depiction of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. A small town called Chester’s Mill is inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous, transparent dome. That’s the starting point for this 13-part adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel. While trying to cope with the consequences of this fantastical event, such as dwindling resources and isolation, the inhabitants of Chester’s Mill try to discover where the dome came from and when it will disappear. Among them are ‘Big Jim’ Rennie (Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris, far left), a local businessman and politician, and sheriff’s deputy Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez, far right). At the same time, the military are stationed outside the dome trying to break in. A Lost-like supernatural drama to get stuck into for the autumn.