Two days after seeing United 93, I remain somewhat unsure of how to write about it. This isn’t because there’s nothing to say about Paul Greengrass’ recreation of the tragic events onboard the titular 9/11 hijacked plane – as well as the surprise, confusion, and incompetence that characterized the responses at various ground control centers – because there’s plenty. It’s just that I feel hopelessly conflicted about almost every facet of the film. Meticulously researched but still containing its fair share of “best guess” conjecture, former documentarian Greengrass’ pic employs the same startlingly believable, Gillo Pontecorvo-inspired cinéma vérité aesthetic that characterized his Bloody Sunday, which lends the real-time action a transfixing sense of dawning terror and urgency and also – because what’s depicted is not absolute truth but merely a speculative version of it – an air of moderately suspect realism. Similarly, the director’s fly-on-the-wall approach involves no character development, a dramatically problematic tack for a supposed “memorial” to those who died, since it successfully allows viewers to project themselves into these frightening circumstances but negates any incisive insight into who these people were and why they did (or didn’t do) what they did. Bereft of context (save for news broadcasts of the World Trade Center towers being struck), the film is emotionally devastating and yet strangely empty, an austere and detailed portrait of everyday bravery and bureaucratic ineffectiveness (the latter of which Greengrass slyly implies extended all the way to the Oval Office) that nevertheless says little about the day's occurances that hasn’t already been said ad nausea, and with more perceptiveness, during the past five years. An act of remembrance that eschews personal/political analysis seems, at least to me, to be only a partially valuable endeavor. That said, United 93 did incite one distinctly uncomplicated reaction: a desire to never sit through it again.