Projections - Movie Reviews

Ladder 49
Ladder 49

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta,
Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut

Fall is the time when the movie studios release dramas, and this one was worth waiting for through the Summer.

It begins with Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix), a Baltimore firefighter who is injured when the floor collapses beneath him during a fire rescue.

While he lays in the rubble waiting for his fellow Ladder 49 firefighters to find him, flashbacks are used to show his first fire as a rookie “hose man” and how through many more extreme firefights, he gains experience, respect and becomes a search and rescue man.

From the time he first walks into the door of his newly assigned firehouse headed by his capable Captain (John Travolta), Jack is kidded and the butt of practical jokes. It seems that the friendly teasing is needed, along with the drinking they join in after each shift, to help dull the memories of the horror they encounter on some of their runs.

The flashbacks also show Jack meeting his future wife Linda (Jacinda Barrett) at a supermarket, marrying, having kids and settling down at work and home.

The story makes Jack’s personal life and the time he spends at the firehouse with his co-workers, as important as the action scenes filled with massive exploding fires. However, don’t get me wrong, full attention is also giving to each dangerous fire, including exciting rescues and harrowing situations in each and they all appear very real.

The large supporting cast is used to depict the ups and downs of a group of guys who put their life on the line to protect the public and each other.

Travolta is strong as the Captain, who has a tough job, he must to make some pretty unbelievable calls in order to save lives even when it might risk the lives of his men.

Barrett is also great as the understanding wife who waits at home for her husband to return safely she gives a very powerful performance.

Phoenix, who’s character starts out shy and inexperienced, develops into a dependable strong firefighter. His performance is moving and genuine and I enjoyed watching him develop on the job.

At last an action film with well-rounded characters and an absorbing involving story.

Ladder 49

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