9/11: One Day in America





“It’s a tour de force”

What makes it so? Not just the exhaustive attention to detail, or the emotional interviews with first-responders and ordinary citizens, or the amount of footage you can’t quite believe exists. The series is deliberately, painstakingly, enthrallingly thorough—so much so that the impact of the second plane into the south tower doesn’t occur until halfway through the feature-length opener. (The rest of the six episodes are 40-odd minutes long.) Director Daniel Bogado and his editors, Chris Nicholls and Audinga Kucinskaite, assume a pace that results in a thriller of Hitchcockian proportions. And an assemblage of constantly surprising elements.

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“A genuine masterpiece”

Not just proficient but genuinely quite incredible, the direction given is confident and controlled in the best of ways. Daniel Bogado so easily could have gotten lost with the endless amount of details and perspectives he could have focused on but instead constantly holds true to his powerful vision, truly showcasing his talent as a documentary filmmaker.

Even with countless other pieces of media tackling the same subject, it is hard to view 9/11: One Day in America as anything but one of the best. Comprehensively and authentically capturing both the objective and subjective of this tragic event, it is near impossible to find anything of issue within the series, which immediately becomes a genuine masterpiece of the genre. This is a defining statement that deserves to be celebrated and appreciated for decades to come.

Carson Timar, Clapper

“You may want to look away”

But the eyes of the men remembering that day as they lived it hold us. By having subjects speak directly into the camera, the filmmakers create an intimacy between the survivors and the viewers that makes is easier to bear witness and relive that nightmare with them and for them. To absorb the enormity of it…

And yet, the main message “9/11: One Day in America” leaves with a person is a reminder of how delicate and precious life is. Sometimes it does this joyfully, as with one subject who attributes her survival by simply being determined that the building was not going to take her away from her family.

Melanie McFarland, Salon

“A painstaking portrait of horror, resilience & hope”

While the documentary begins like many accounts that preceded it — imagery of New York City firefighters and businessmen who worked at the World Trade Center — little time elapses before realizing this series is different. Audio and video footage spans past and present narratives while highlighting vantage points that range from the casual New Yorker standing horrified outside of a taxi to the frantic personnel inside the actual towers.

Still, perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this oft-agonizing and meticulous series lies not within the footage of witnesses, but in the moments of hope and resiliency that underscore those fateful events and the days that followed

Rachel Nostrant, Military Times

“It forces you to endure the day as never before”

To experience it more directly, in greater detail. Few of us over these past 20 years have wanted to revisit these horrors once we had first seen them… So the editing is exact: it’s that day, in America. The intention is commemorative, honorific, sorrowful, even, finally, a little celebratory of the courage shown. It fulfils this brief admirably. Yet its impact is more complicated. To see this all again, more intensely conveyed than ever before, is also to realise anew the ferocity of the hatred expressed in what is still the worst single act of terrorism ever committed.

David Sexton, New Statesman

“Honors the survivors”

The great, grave strength of “9/11: One Day in America,” National Geographic’s special now on Hulu, lies in its unhyped patience. It follows a shrewd number of individual subjects whose lives intersected with that bright, cloudless and then terrible morning. Series director Daniel Bogado made “One Day in America” with the conspicuous collaboration of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. So often in documentary filmmaking, that degree of cooperation with folks closest to the source can lead to compromises, or worse.

Here, it works. The key interview subjects, survivors of that day, remain haunted by what they lived through. Eighteen or 19 years later, depending on when Bogado filmed them, the firefighters, World Trade Center commuters, news personalities and others present that morning think and talk about it with remarkable perspective — anguish, plus distance, spoken directly to the camera. So many compelling portraits are accommodated here…the accounts are riveting, and never rushed.

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“A grand act of witness told in forensic detail”

The footage which accompanies these memories is harrowing. Firefighters with faces masked in ash like bodies pulled from Pompeii. Commuters in suits running for their lives from a vast wall of dust. The incredulous moment of impact when the second plane hit. The documentary comes with a content warning – and for once, it’s justified. We’re saturated with images of 9/11, yet when pulled together like this, the cumulative effect is profoundly disturbing.

Alex Diggins, The Telegraph

“The most comprehensive look of the day”

They have gathered all of this footage and audio over the past two decades, and Bogado manages to stitch together the hundreds of hours of footage into a recounting of the day that will bring back all of the visceral emotions that anyone who remembers that day had, and make it feel like it just happened a month ago…

But it very effectively brings back the feelings from that harrowing day, even as it highlights the moments of kindness that filtered through all the darkness and death. It’s a great illustration of what that day was like and should be shown to students for decades to come.

Joel Keller, Decider