An Amazing Film from Brian Sloan
Brian Sloan wrote and directed the amazing “WTC View”, the story of young Eric (Michael Urie) who advertises in The Village Voice for a roommate. The ad runs on a day that will live in infamy for us, September 11, 2001. To the surprise of all, several possible roommates show up and as we follow their stories, we learn that Eric not only needs someone to share his place but for emotional balance as well. Of those that come to inquire about the apartment, are an array of characters. There is an hotelier, a student who is staying in New York because his teacher instills in him that New York needs him, a native New Yorker and a nice straight guy who is a liberal politician. How Eric decides who he will share his apartment with is just a small part of what this film is about. We get a look into the minds of New Yorkers who live in the vicinity of what was the World Trade Center and how they have come to terms with the national catastrophe. I was taken by the performances of the youthful cast who are held together by raw emotions and great love for the script. As each character comes into play it is like unwrapping a new gift.
Urie’s performance as Eric is a tour de force. He maintains a tight rein on his emotions and when he realizes that he can no longer handle the 9/11 situation, he shows the only weakness in his otherwise bravura performance. It is hard to imagine what goes through the mind of someone who was living in the shadow of the fallen towers and Urie portrays his role with class and distinction. He is someone to watch.
Something told me to go back and watch the movie again and I am so glad that I did. This is such an important film because it ties two impotent issues together. None of us will ever forget the emotions we experienced on 9/11 and Sloan handles this with wonderful sensitivity and it takes on different proportions on a second viewing of the film. I also found it amazing the way Urie handles Eric’s sexuality as if it is a non issue and he relates his gayness to his prospective roommates matter-of-factly with no apologies (but then this is set in New York where people are used to gay people—I can only imagine how it would be in Arkansas). He mentions that he is gay while showing the apartment and it just flows out of him as if he is just saying hello. Sloan gives us and New York a beautiful gift with this film—it is a love song to the city and it carries a big beautiful bow of understanding. It is a small movie with a big heart.
The DVD is loaded with special features—director’s commentary, a featurette on how the movie evolved from stage to screen, deleted scenes, interviews with cast members who express their personal feelings and what they felt on 9/11 and a photo gallery showing New York after the terrorist attack. As I sit here typing this review, the movie is still very much with me.