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Review: 'Clear Blue Sky' documents Cantor's dark days

'Out of the Clear Blue Sky' is a poignant look at how Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald survived the devastation of the 9/11 attacks.

August 16, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from "Clear Blue Sky."
A scene from "Clear Blue Sky." (Handout )

The powerful, deftly constructed documentary "Out of the Clear Blue Sky" examines the tragedy of9/11through the prism of bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which, at the time of the terrorist attacks, occupied the top five floors of the World Trade Center's North Tower.

Horrifically, all of the company's 658 employees who made it to the office that fateful morning were killed, accounting for an astounding 24% of 9/11's total casualties.

Cantor's youngish (then-40), hard-driving chief executive, Howard Lutnick, was one of the firm's 202 remaining WTC staffers who escaped death merely by a chance absence — he was taking his son to his first day of kindergarten.

Lutnick, whose brother, Gary, was also among the dead, found himself facing an unthinkable series of leadership decisions, dilemmas and responsibilities in the days, months and even years following9/11.

These often-controversial business challenges, along with the calamity's vast emotional toll, are covered in compelling, poignant detail via interviews here with Lutnick, other surviving Cantor executives and many of the late employees' family members.

Director Danielle Gardner (her brother, Doug, was yet another Cantor fatality) interweaves stirring, ever-troubling9/11-related archival news footage, with personal photos and videos plus some, frankly, dispensable re-enactments.

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"Out of the Clear Blue Sky." No MPAA Rating. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. At Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood.

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