Since the events of 9/11, many of the documentaries concerning the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center have focused on two key areas: the physical destruction of the Twin Towers (otherwise known as the 'why did they fall' series), and the physical and emotional carnage that began once the first plane ploughed into the Twin Towers complex. The yearly anniversary ceremonies have also produced memorial documentaries that pay tribute to the acts of bravery by ordinary citizens, with others conduct blow-by-blow accounts of how the nine men breached the once-safe North American continent - a land mass which had never before been attacked by foreign terrorists.
Writer/producer/director Robert Taicher is best-known as the producer of Alejandro Jodorowsky's films The Holy Mountain (1973) and The Rainbow Thief (1990), and unlike most documentarians, Taicher chose to skip the TV broadcast route and make Rush to War available as a straight home video release.
Intelligent and well-paced, the film follows Taicher on his personal journey through America, asking people to reflect on the awful events days after the attacks. A curious mix of interviews include media personalities, civil rights activists, and regular folks, and Taicher's approach is fairly low-keyed; lacking the high-strung emotions seen in nightly network news broadcasts, the engaging subjects are filmed as they reflect on the immediate horrors, and process the trickle of facts that were emerging during the first stages of the government's 9/11 investigation.
The polarizing decisions of the Bush administration - defensively moving the country towards a state of war with a mere handful of allies supporting a military response - are seen through Taicher's own visitations to the three 9/11 plane crash sites, and the diverse interview subjects - some not seen in prior documentaries - often yield opinions of stark simplicity, if not measured temperaments from average citizens.
Rush to War is also a less bristling experience than Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, as the latter's a sexier, more kinetic and personal criticism of the current war in Iraq. Moore also shaped Farenheit to combat the selective media reporting on national newscasts, and tried to mobilize an undecided public for the country's 2004 elections. Taicher's aim is to maintain a more measured examination of the failed policies of several administrations, rather than a full focus on the Bush family, and attempt more provocative, constructive thought and discussions, thereby preserving early pre-war views before the consequences will be felt , decades later.
© 2005 Mark R. Hasan
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