All of us who were of age to know what was going on at the time will always remember what we were doing when the towers fell in New York on September 11, 2001. I'd just moved to the states from Canada less than three weeks before the attacks. My fiancé (now wife) was on a business trip in Chicago and the only other three people I knew in town were either away on business or vacationing in Italy. I slept in that morning and only woke up when the phone started ringing off the hook. Time zones can wreak havoc with things and being on the West Coast, it was pretty early for me when it all went down. And when it did, I didn't know what to do. I was alone, I didn't know anyone and had no one to turn to. All I could do when the towers fell was sit in front of the television like so many others did on that day, and cry – not only out of sadness (though that was obviously the biggest reason) but also out of despair and out of helplessness.
For many people, myself included, it's not pleasant to think back and reflect on those events. It's painful, ugly, and very difficult to really put into perspective even now, a few years after the fact. There are still a whole lot of unanswered questions out there about the attacks, and about how they were handled. 911 – In Plane Site raises even more questions and shows us once again that we shouldn't believe everything that the mainstream media tells us – and in a very real sense makes that day even more painful and difficult to understand.
Without going so far as to actually accuse the government of involvement in the terrorist attacks, Dave Vonkleist's documentary uses actual, unaltered news footage of the events (much of which was only shown once and then never seen again) to put forth the idea that they know more than they're letting on and that they may have had some part in the premeditation of the events.
The film does this over fifty-two minutes (it was hoped that it would be shown as a television special – that didn't happen) by making these key points:
The attach on the Pentagon – something is wrong with what we're being told. It isn't physically possible for a Boeing 757 to have made the whole that existed in the building the way that it did. There's very little evidence of burning from the inside despite the amount of fuel the plane would have carried, and there's no crater, and no wreckage seen in any of the photos of video footage of that day. The hole looks like it could have been made by a missile.
There was a smaller explosion that occurred in New York near the WTC before the towers fell. This was only seen on CNN live as it happened and the footage was never broadcast again – though it is presented here. What caused this explosion?
Taking that into account, why was building seven referred to as 'pulled'? That's a term used to describe a building being demolished using explosives from the inside. Why were there explosives on the inside of this building before the attacks? It wouldn't have been possible to go into the building between the time the first plane hit and the time that building seven was demolished and lay those charges properly.
Were there also charges inside the two WTC towers? Fireman and witnesses claim to have heard explosions in the area before the planes hit, and the fireman who were in the building at the time and luckily made it out with their lives all describe hearing a pattern of explosions from above them that 'sounded like a building collapsing.' If there were charges in the WTC towers, who put them there and why?
The plane that hit the second tower was supposed to be an American Airlines flight. When then is there an anomaly underneath the plane? What is it? And why are there no windows visible on the plane in any of the footage captured that day of the plane hitting? And what is that flash that is evident just as the plane is about to hit the second tower? It's visible from four different angles so it can't be a reflection. Could the plane have been a fuel tanker? It's be the right size and would explain the explosion as well as the anomaly under the plane that is clearly visible in photographs and video evidence.
If it wasn't an American Airlines flight, where are those planes? What happened to the people on board them?
Like I said, if you sit down and think about this, it's stomach churning. Vonkleist doesn't pretend to have all the answers and he doesn't tell you how you should feel about all of this – he simply presents the evidence as it stands and lets the viewer make up their own mind. One thing that is certain is that there's a whole lot more to that day than what has been stated. Who can say for sure if the government had anything to do with it? It's not possible at this point to really prove anything at all with the limited information available. But these facts can't be disputed, especially the strangeness surrounding the attack at the Pentagon. Considering that government agents reportedly confiscated the tape that captured the attack from a gas station security camera across the street from the most secure building in North America, it doesn't look like we're going to find out what really happened any time soon.
The 1.33.1 image is comprised of studio footage featuring Dave Vonkleist sitting in front of an editing suite lining up the footage used in the feature. There is some serious edge enhancement and shimmering going on along the lines of his sweater, but other than that this footage looks fine. The news broadcast footage and archival footage doesn't look quite as sharp and seeing as it was used without the authorization of the broadcasting companies, much of it looks to have been taken from personal VHS tape recordings made at the time of the initial broadcast. None of it is unwatchable and seeing as this is such a recent event most of it is in pretty decent shape. There are tracking lines and the regular kind of wear, tear and softness that is associated with VHS visible in a few spots but none of it is so bad as to distract from the film or it's ideas.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is perfectly clean and clear. There's not much to work with in regards to channel separation as the dialogue and narration is pretty basic, so keeping that in mind this simple mix gets the job done just fine. A surround sound mix wouldn't have added anything of any real value to this anyway, so it's just as well that stereo was used.
In the extra features section there are four selection. The first is a twelve minute segment completed after the documentary was finished that demonstrates, using local broadcasts from smaller news stations covering the Oklahoma City bombing, how the major media networks can and do leave out certain facts. This goes to further the supposition put fourth in the main film about the involvement of certain parties, though it does little to explain why (and quite honestly, it's can't).
Up next is real time and show motion clips of all four of the angles that caught the second tower being hit by the plane, all four of which show the same anomaly on the plane and all four of which also show the flash that occurred before the plane entered the tower. The third segment shows all four of these clips on screen at the same time, confirming that yes that anomaly was there and the flash does occur and is visible from four different angles at the same time, eliminating the option of it having been caused by a reflection of some sort. The fourth selection is the trailer for the documentary.
911 – In Plane Site is, to put it mildly, extremely disturbing. To think that someone may have premeditated the events that killed so many innocent people on that day in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania other than Al Queda is something that many of us don't want to think about or accept. This documentary goes a long way towards backing up that very supposition with facts and evidence without getting into the kind of partisan issues that normally mire political documentaries. The film is fascinating, horrifying, and revelatory. Despite the short running time, the mediocre extra features, and the less than stellar audio/video quality, the content on this piece is strong enough and important enough that this disc still comes highly recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.