This video does what most of the others do not (except for the French/CBS "9-11"), and that is portray what the city looked and sounded like in the hours following the collapse of the towers.
It needs to be acknowledged that this shows ONLY the physical aftermath of the disaster. This does not capture any of the stories behind those who were there, or those who witnessed the attack. There is no portrayal of the emotional aftermath.
At the time the video was shot, there was already a "lockdown" on the city. Thousands of people like me, who escaped the WTC and walked home, were unable to take public or private transportation back to Manhattan for at least 48 hours. Technically, the streets of Manhattan were open north of Canal Street, but no car service was willing to take me from Brooklyn to Manhattan for fear of not being able to leave Manhattan once they got there. And full subway service from Brooklyn to Manhattan was restored only on Thursday, 9/13.
So this video shows us what those who remained in lower Manhattan would have seen and heard - and that was dust and silence, respectively. That might be boring to those who expected this to portray more of the attack or the detailed activities and words of the rescue and recovery workers. However, this documentary keeps all other people at a distance from the camera. I wonder if that was intentional, but in any case, the effect is that this video makes you feel as if you have just dropped into the WTC neighborhood, and you are free to walk around and view the destruction at ground-level. The video takes up to areas that were under heavy police security, such as the shattered Winter Garden at the WFC (World Financial Center). It takes us to a Health Club on Rector Street. It takes us to West Broadway, Vesey Street, Church Street, Broadway, and Fulton Street, to name a few. If you live in NYC or know the area, this video will give you a quick tour of the streets that surrounded the WTC's 16-acre footprint.
I find it refreshing and wise that this video does not have narration, music, interviews, montages, or any politicians promoting themselves (Rudy!) or any flag-waving. I think I'm in the minority when I say this, but I feel that most of the DVD's on this event are somewhat exploitative and feature music and narration that intends to provoke an emotional response, which I feel is somewhat manipulative. If TV commercials tell us what to buy and how to live, what do we do when a news documentary tells us how to feel? And some news organizations have used this as a PR vehicle. That CNN "America Remembers" DVD is virtually a self-promotional product for the network. And HBO's "In Memoriam," while featuring a lot of excellent material, still features segments that belong to the world of TV Commercials, not documentaries. The interview with Giuliani looks like something he would produce if he ever ran for national office. The documentaries on the towers (NOVA, Discovery Channel) have been first-rate. And the "9-11" documentary has the best of everything - story, drama, the timeline of that day, and the "you are there" feel.
However, this short video has the best videography. There are some shots here that are as good as any photograph. The collapse of what was my building, 1 WTC, is captured better here than in all the videos and news footage I have seen. And the sound of the crowds below shrieking was just as I remember it. The "sunrise" shots of the WTC's steel facade (the exterior "lattice") are also memorable here. If you are looking for a video that just captures how the neighborhood looked and sounded after the attack, this is the video you want.