Freeview film of the day: Sunday 10 September – United 93

As the anniversary of 11 September 2001 looms, a timely showing of Paul Greengrass's drama about a hijacked plane and the heroism of its passengers

The passengers prepare to storm the cockpit

United 93 ★★★★


11.05pm-1.15am ITV4

Presaging tomorrow’s 9/11 anniversary, Paul Greengrass’s tribute to the ordinary bravery of those aboard the only plane of four hijacked by terrorists on that horrible day that did not hit its target (the Capitol building in DC) is never less than terrifying, with little-known actors adding to the documentary realism that is the director’s stock in trade. An intelligent, respectful choice that never crosses the line into inappropriate melodrama, it builds tension from the mundane scenes of check-in to the very end. At the FAA command centre in Virginia, Operations Manager Ben Sliney delivers a remarkably assured performance as himself. We glimpse the second plane hit the South Tower from the safe distance of the control centre, and the iconic image is all the more breathtaking. The attempted passenger mutiny is almost unbearable to watch, but knowing the outcome does not reduce the tension. It’s showing again tomorrow on ITV4 on the anniversary itself.

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