There are also portrayals of a few officers who did not survive, like Christopher Amoroso, who was 29 and grew up in North Bergen.
"There are about 100 different variations of emotions going on with us," said his father, Charlie Amoroso, last week. "My one son and my daughter Justine don't want anything to do with it. My wife has mixed feelings. My other two sons said they will see it and my youngest daughter Jessica, well, Chris was her hero, so she will see it. It's a tough way to describe what's going on with us."
Christopher Amoroso's widow, Jamie, who now lives in Staten Island on a street named after her fallen husband, also wants nothing to do with the movie. Stone apparently reached out to Jamie Amoroso when doing the research for the movie and she declined to cooperate.
"Jamie's very set against it and wanted no part of it," Charlie Amoroso said. "She didn't want anyone to portray Chris in depth. I think Oliver Stone wanted to portray all seven officers in more depth, but Jamie was dead set against it. That's her wishes and what she wanted. She asked the family not to deal with them, and we respected her wishes."
In a recent article in the New York Daily News, Jamie Amoroso said that she "didn't need a movie to tell me how much of a hero my husband was."
Actor Jon Bernthal plays Christopher Amoroso in the film. Bernthal has been featured on such television shows as"How I Met Your Mother," "Boston Legal," "CSI: Miami" and "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," which has filmed in North Bergen.
The portrayal of Christopher Amoroso marks Bernthal's motion picture debut.
Charlie Amoroso, who was born and raised in North Bergen and was a long-time youth football coach in the township before moving to Howell a few years ago, was at first skeptical when he heard that the Academy Award-winning director Stone was making a movie about the fateful day.
"To be real honest, I was a bit apprehensive of his style of doing things," Charlie Amoroso said.
Stone became controversial because of the dark conspiracy theories he explored in "JFK." But he also has captured three Academy Awards. He first won for Best Original Screenplay for "Midnight Express" in 1978 and captured Best Director honors twice, for "Platoon" in 1986 and "Born on the Fourth of July" in 1989.
"I started reading articles, and everyone was saying that he did a good job with his accuracy and his details," Amoroso said. "I've heard interviews with him and I can feel the emotion. I'm also relieved the movie is being made by someone of his stature, someone who is highly respected, and it's not being made by some schlep."
Charlie Amoroso said the movie seems to be "tastefully done," which is another reason why he's curious to see the finished product.
"I've seen the trailers and it doesn't look like it's been sensationalized," Amoroso said. "I do plan on seeing it. With whom and when is another story. My best friends say that they will be bookends for me and help me through it. I don't know if I will see it immediately, but I will go to see it. Maybe I'll wait until the weekend."
Under the rubble
Most of the movie focuses on the lives of Port Authority officers John McLoughlin, who is portrayed by Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage, and Will Jimeno, played by actor Michael Pena. Both officers were trapped inside the rubble of the collapsed towers and were pulled to safety two days later.
There was some controversy as to the fact that McLoughlin and Jimeno, both of whom were forced to retire from the Port Authority police force because of the severe injuries, received substantial sums from Stone (in excess of $250,000 each) for the rights to their story.
Jeannette Pezzullo, who is the widow of fallen PA officer Dominick Pezzullo, also portrayed in the movie, has been very vocal in her disapproval of the movie and the fact that McLoughlin and Jimeno were paid for their services.
"My thing is, this man died for you," Pezzullo said in the same Daily News article that quoted Jamie Amoroso. "How do you do this to his family?"
But Charlie Amoroso holds no grudges toward his son's former colleagues.
"My personal feeling is that they had a right to tell their story," Charlie Amoroso said. "It's their story. They were fortunate to survive. There is an interest there."
Amoroso said that he wants to see the movie for several reasons.
"I will get a chance to see it for real, a chance to live Chris' day," Charlie Amoroso said. "Of course, it's curiosity. I think I will be able to get more of my feelings out and know what he went through, from the perspective of the two officers who survived. I want to be able to live his day."
Photo of Amoroso
Christopher Amoroso, who graduated from North Bergen High School and played football there, went to the World Trade Center after the first plane hit the South tower and helped to pull injured people from the initial wreckage. There was a picture of Amoroso pulling a woman to safety that was published in the New York Daily News. Amoroso went back into the building to help other injured people and never came back out.
"I've always said that I would have changed places with Chris in a heartbeat," Charlie Amoroso said. "He was just doing his job, doing what he was trained to do. I realized how much my son was like me, because I would have done the same thing without even thinking once."
There have been some critics who have questioned whether Stone's movie came out too soon after the tragedy, that some of the emotional wounds caused by the horrific events have not fully healed.
"I don't think it's too soon," Charlie Amoroso said. "It's been almost five years. I think it's important that people know the real story."
What angers Charlie Amoroso is that there still isn't a permanent memorial at the site of the tragedy.
"There have been monuments dedicated all over the country and not one in New York yet," Amoroso said. "There's so much going on with people worrying about where the names are going to be placed. I don't understand it."
There is also a controversy about a statewide memorial to be placed in Jersey City. Some residents of that city say that it is too large and will obstruct views of Manhattan from Liberty State Park. A hearing will be held on the matter on Aug. 16. (See www.jerseycityreporter.com for more details.)
'There's one in Seattle'
Amoroso said that the United States Navy recently flew him to Seattle to be a guest speaker at the opening of a park that featured a sculpture dedicated to the 9/11 victims.
"There's one in Seattle and we can't get anything here," Amoroso said. "It makes you wonder."
Amoroso doesn't know how he will react when he sees the film for the first time. He did not attend the movie premiere in Manhattan with all the celebrities and dignitaries.
"I know it will be emotional," Amoroso said. "When I get to see it, I know it will be the same gutwrenching feeling I had when I first went to the [9/11 Memorial] wall in Washington. I've always learned to keep everything in front of me, because then, it can't bite me from behind. I don't think I'm going to get totally engulfed and upset. We're each going to deal with it in our completely different ways. Emotions are split throughout, even with my family."
He added, "After other friends and family will see it, I'll probably get about 100 phone calls. That's when it all resurfaces and comes back. That's what makes it all difficult. I think I can deal with it, but it's going to be a hard time for my family."
Amoroso is certain about one thing: His son will be portrayed in a positive light.
"He was a great kid," Charlie Amoroso said. "I think that will come out in the movie."