Preview by: Jack Foley
THE horrific events of September 11, 2001, were always going
to prove a fertile hunting ground for the arts - it was only a
matter of how long would they wait before tackling them.
Several films have already attempted to explore the aftermath
in some way (most notably, Spike Lee's The
25th Hour), while both TV (Resce Me) and the literary world
(Windows on the World)
have done so with much success.
Another new film to explore the issue is The Great New Wonderful,
which received its world premiere at Robert De Niro's Tribeca
Film Festival (which was founded in the aftermath of 9/11 to boost
the Manhattan neighbourhood in the wake of the atrocity).
The film is set in September 2002 and focuses on the lives of
five New Yorkers who are in denial as to how September 11 affected
It boasts a strong ensemble cast, including Maggie Gyllenhaal
and Oscar winner, Olympia Dukakis, and is directed by Danny Leiner.
And it was hailed by the New York Metro as 'brilliant' in its
preview of the highlights of the Tribeca Festival.
It wrote that 'judging from a rough cut of the film, this wonderfully
acted ensemble piece may be the best fiction film about post-9/11
life to appear on screens'.
What's more, it comes from the same director responsible for
the low-brow Ashton Kutcher comedy, Dude, Where’s My Car?,
as well as the more recent Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies.
Leiner, however, maintains that he
wanted to make a serious film that wasn't afraid to confront some
sensitive issues, and felt the time was right to return to his
native New York in order to deal with the subject of 9/11 head-on.
He recently told the BBC: "For us [Leiner and co-writer,
Sam Catlin], as we were thinking about New York and we wanted
to do this collage of New York and characters, we couldn't avoid
thinking about 9/11 because it was everywhere. It was unavoidable
at that time.
"Hence, as the movie goes forward, we see cracks in the
psyche of each of these characters and it slowly evolves, like
a slow burn."
However, the film does not seek to glorify the events of 9/11,
nor dwell on the spectacular nature of the destruction - but rather
concentrate on the everyday lives of the people forced to live
in the aftermath of it.
"We really didn't want to make a film that was about 9/11,
what actually happened. I really was much more interested in the
aftermath, and how people dealt with it emotionally," he
The Great New Wonderful is not the only film to be tackling the
issue of 9/11 that's headed our way in future months.
102 Minutes, a book written by two New York Times reporters about
the final moments of those trapped in the World Trade towers,
is currently being turned into a movie by Columbia Pictures.
While two American television networks are competing to be the
first to complete a mini-series based on the independent report
written by the 9/11 Commission.
As yet, The Great New Wonderful has yet to secure a distributor,
so there is no word on whether it will even get a UK release as