There have been many, many documentaries about the 9/11 attacks and their impact on ordinary American citizens. However, few of these works manage to make any impact at all, instead choosing to focus on the death and destruction that rained down from the sky on that fateful day. Tim Oliver and David L. Trapasso Jr.’s emotional and stirring documentary ‘Sky So Blue’ has none of the above. Instead, Oliver and Trapasso Jr. choose to focus on an ordinary American, Tim Oliver, who walks by the 9/11 memorial every morning on his way to work. Inspired by the monument and by the people still coming to pay their respects on it, Oliver decides to know more about the people who perished in the horrific attacks. Oliver’s quest finally leads him to interviewing five families whose loved ones did not live to see past September 11.
What follows is a tale of tears and courage as the five families relive the memories of their members that they lost in the attacks while coming to terms with the new reality facing America twenty years after the War on Terror was initiated as a direct consequence of these attacks. Oliver and Trapasso Jr. capture the delicate subject matter perfectly, focusing on the human cost of the attacks and how the attacks changed the American psyche dramatically. There is no attempt to emotionally manipulate the audience and on the contrary, Oliver and Trapasso Jr. let their interviewees do all the talking, choosing to capture their emotional outpouring with sensitivity and empathy. Visuals of the attack and its immediate aftermath of bloodied civilians rummaging through the streets and thick clouds of dust covering everything in its path make up the starting images of the documentary and are just as shocking today as they were twenty years ago. As Oliver moves around the 9/11 memorial, we see a powerful image of people paying their respects to the perished. Oliver and Trapasso Jr. do not include any flashy editing or sound design, instead choosing to propel the narrative using the powerful stories of the survivors’ families. The result is thus an authentic look into how the families coped after their world fell apart, how they built themselves up and how they choose to look at the world today after the sacrifice of their family members twenty years ago.