In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, as we watched the footage of the planes flying into the World Trade Center over and over again, many noted how much the whole spectacle looked like a movie. It was the dastardly plot of a James Bond villain who wasn’t stopped by 007. It resembled something from the Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer playbook.
There were immediate predictions, of course, that old-school action movies with elaborate explosions would somehow have no place in a post-9/11 world, but that’s what they said about irony and celebrity gossip, too. Like every other facet of American society, the movie business was shaken, but it went on.
Nonetheless, in a number of ways, the repercussions of 9/11 itself continue to reverberate through the movies. And while the horrific events of that day don’t often take center stage on the big screen -- with a...