World Trade Center vs. Silent Partner

Christopher Plummer as Bin LadenWORLD TRADE CENTER, Oliver Stone’s sentimental take on 9/11 heroism comes out this summer. I have nothing against a story which describes the travails of two New York City cops and their families caught up in the World Trade Center collapse. But Stone’s timing with the release of this movie is unfortunate. With the upcoming elections, the only rallying cry the Republicans have anymore is 9/11. What a time for Stone to wax patriotic. And I think the absence of his usual political curiosity offers a silent aquiescence to the official line. Too bad.
 
For anyone who feels they absolutely need a jolt of 9/11 heroism, might I suggest the documentary 9/11 aired on CBS and made by the Naudet brothers, the French filmmakers who inadvertantly captured the first tower being hit. Talk about harrowing viewing. They went inside the WTC to witness the second strike and were still inside when the opposite tower collapsed. (That’s why the video of the first plane was so late to emerge. Filmmaker and film were nearly destroyed in the rubble.)

I’d like to recommend an altogether different classic: THE SILENT PARTNER, an unforgettable 1978 sleeper hit starring Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer. Don’t take my word for it, this thriller shares some striking plot points.

Plummer plays bank robber Harry Reikel who is thwarted in his first attempt to rob the bank at which Gould’s Miles Cullen is a bank teller. Deciding to await a better opportunity, Reikel discards the deposit slip upon which he’d written his directives, this is a robbery, etc. While tidying the lobby, Miles discovers the imprint of Reikel’s message on the deposit slip beneath. He reacts with alarm, but goes home to consider the opportunity knocking and hatches a plan.

(What did the US security advisor do with the memo titled “Bin Laden determined to strike inside the US?”)

The next day at work Miles waylays as much money as he can from the bank vault. When the forecasted robbery occurs, he gives Reikel some of the money, later declaring the entire sum as stolen, and then takes the bulk of the loot home, thus becoming the robber’s silent partner. Of course, when Reikel learns on TV the magnitude of his purported take, he figures out what Miles has done. Now Reikel becomes the partner whom Miles must keep silent.

Does it make sense that someone might be using Guantanamo to keep al Qaida ranks silent, lest anyone find out that Bin Laden had only commandered the planes? Crashing the airliners was forewarned by the now infamous security memo, but the terrorists may have had nothing to do with upping the magnitude of the 9/11 disaster by setting demolition charges at the WTC and the Pentagon. Those may have been more easily planted by cold-blooded accomplices to the terrorists, silent partners who wanted a Pearl Harbor to launch their PNAC authoritarian coup.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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