Greengrass' ingenious attempt to recreate the events on 9-11 leading up to and during that horrific flight (in real time, one might add) crackles and pops with a cinema verite energy that makes the most mundane of the circumstances take on an ironic heft. We all know how the story went-only if merely how it ends—and it makes all the participants victims and their every action and utterance weighted with irony, their moments, being finite, that much more important. The dawning realization that their rudimentary transport had become part of an organized plot to turn their flight into a weapon of targetted destruction is both horrific and inspiring, moving fast through the stages of grief, they decide to make the best of the situation in which they suspected they would not survive, and acted unselfishly to at least stop any further loss of life wherever they were heading, and, maybe, doubtfully, save their own. In an unfolding world of uncertainty, they acted for the greater good.
It's an amazing story—civilians becoming warriors, victims not settling for that role. And Greengrass' version is done without stars, no grand-standing, just the director's insistence on verisimilitude and energy, not enhancing the story with false heroics, but only the genuine ones, enhanced by its own choice not to editorialize.