The first nerve-crunching 20minutes of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center were screened before the 20th-anniversary screeningof Platoon on Sunday night to astrong response from a packed Salle Debussy in Cannes.
The footage laid out themorning of September 11, 2001, from the point of view of John McLoughlin(Nicolas Cage), a Port Authority police officer, who leaves his wife (MariaBello) in bed at 4 am to head to work.
As the sun comes up, he andhis team -- including rookie William Jimeno (Michael Pena) -- go about theirduties but are called to the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan when thefirst plane hits.
The team requisitions a busand begins the drive to the site, and while Stone avoids dwelling on the iconicimages of that day, there are plenty of chilling moments: the shadow of anairliner sweeping past a building, the mass of swirling paper when the busreaches the site, the dazed faces emerging from the mayhem, the boomingexplosions coming from the towers dozens of stories above.
Amid confusion about what ishappening and disbelief that a second plane has hit, McLoughlin and hisofficers head into building five of the World Trade Center and prepare to enterthe first tower.
The footage shown in Cannes endedwith the stunning moment when the tower falls, floor falling on floor,literally on top of the officers who in those desperate seconds are strugglingto comprehend what is happening and interpret the cacophonous sound ofcrunching rubble above them.
The film follows the effortsto rescue McLoughlin and Jimeno, the last two survivors plucked from therubble. Stone was greeted by a standing ovation at the screening andgiven a warm introduction by Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux.
Accompanied on stage by his Platoon stars Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger, Stoneacknowledged Hemdale chief John Daly who fully financed Platoon in 1986 and talked of his quest to illustratedangerous extremism in the world. An audience of Hollywood heavyweightsincluded Paramount's Brad Grey, MGM's Harvey Sloan and Rick Sands and Initial'sGraham King.