August 14, 2006 12:00 PM

Nicolas Cage, Michael Peña, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal


When it comes to the big stuff, it’s the little stuff that matters. John McLoughlin (Cage), a veteran cop buried beneath 20 feet of concrete and twisted metal after the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, clung determinedly to life partly because he hadn’t finished putting up new kitchen cabinets. He tells Will Jimeno (Peña), a rookie officer trapped with him, his wife (Bello) would never forgive him if he died without completing the job.

World Trade Center is very much a small-picture view of the massive 2001 tragedy, concentrating on the personal lives of these men and their rescue (they were the last survivors pulled from the wreckage). Coming from bombastic director Oliver Stone (Alexander), the film is surprisingly conventional and restrained. It’s well-acted, sincere and at times even tear-inducing, but World never transcends being a Hollywood movie. And for this New Yorker, it may still be too soon for that. (PG-13)

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