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The Rhetoric of TerrorReflections on 9/11 and the War on Terror$
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Marc Redfield

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231232

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231232.001.0001

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. World Trade Center and United 93

. World Trade Center and United 93

5. World Trade Center and United 93
The Rhetoric of Terror

Marc Redfield

Fordham University Press

Since the attacks of September 11 inscribed a trauma in the very fabric of a culture of spectacle, big-budget films could not fail to be made about the attacks, and could not fail to be made and received nervously. As the film reduces its star, Nicolas Cage, to bits of ash-covered, burned face, framed and cropped by rubble, this anticinematic movement inevitably becomes an exaggeration of the celebratory close-up of a star. On the one hand, the star's acting skills transcend his temporary defacement (the defacement, in fact, allows the star to assert himself as an artist: Cage reportedly spent hours in a sensory-deprivation tank to prepare for this role); on the other hand, the star's fragmentation registers the aggressivity with which this film turns on itself, reducing spectacle to a minimum in its most intense moments, yet always necessarily rediscovering itself as “movie.”

Keywords:   spectacle, World Trade Center, United 93, Nicholas Cage, film, movie

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