The Stranger | Seattle | Film | Feature | Once More with Feeling:
United 93 gets around this problem by eschewing traditional characterization: Though all of the (nonprofessional and low-profile) actors are portraying specific passengers, it's next to impossible to sort out who's who. We see them as their fellow passengers did: a mass of strangers and sudden allies, not individual saints. Other choices take the movie in a direction that satisfies action-movie expectations, even as it abandons the historical record. The passengers in this movie don't take a democratic vote about their course of action (as they actually did—a historical fact championed by theorist Elaine Scarry as evidence that it's possible to quickly and democratically respond to crisis post-9/11); instead, burly thirty- and fortysomething guys decide to do something and others seem to fall into line.