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Celebrating the Humanity
Oct 27, 2004 04:13 PM 1671 Views
(Updated Oct 27, 2004 04:16 PM)





Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, Kevin Chapman, Kevin Daniels, Jay Hernandez, Balthazar Getty, Tim Guinee, Billy Burke, Marja Allen, Nick Loren, Spencer Berglund, James E. Ash, Peggy Cafferty, Sho Brown

Director: Jay Russell

Producer: Casey Silver , Chris Salvaterra , Whitney Green

Screenwriter: Lewis Colick

Cinematographer: James L. Carter

Composer: William Ross

Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein

In most of the cop / Armed forces based movies one happens to listen to these dialogues frequent - '' Everyday, the people are sleeping / living peacefully because we slog ourselves in the duty''

Have anyone thought about the men who are on similar front braving their lives to resue us,

Do you ?

Can you guess whom I'm talking about ?

You can't !

o.k , here is the prelude,

When the gong sounds, when the siren wails, when the ladder truck races from the firehouse, you know what's going to happen.

You may not know how, but you always know why. And you always know what: Brave, good men are going out to do -- and, perhaps, die.

Yes, You guessed it right.

This movie talks about the men in noble profession - Firemen.

Story of a veteran firefighter who, while trapped in what could be the fire that will kill him, looks back over his professional life, his heroic career and his family life

The opening scenes of ''Ladder 49'' (Touchstone) have all the hallmarks of a routine action drama -- But after the noisy and intense opening sequence, the film settles into a thoughtful portrait of firehouse life in Baltimore, with as much attention given to Jack's domestic life and travails as to the ''Towering Inferno''-type thrills.

When the movie opens, firefighter Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) and his comrades find themselves battling a giant conflagration inside a blazing grain warehouse.

After rescuing one victim from the towering inferno, Morrison finds himself trapped inside, amid choking smoke and collapsing debris -- and the object of a desperate rescue commanded by Fire Chief Mike Kennedy (John Travolta), Morrison's best friend and mentor, who's been guiding his progress since Morrison's days as an eager rookie.

And that's exactly where ''Ladder 49'' flashes back: Morrison's introduction to the firehouse and its boisterous crew, from resident jokester Lenny Richter (Robert Patrick) to veteran Tommy Drake (Morris Chestnut), who defends the rookie from his new colleagues' prankish rites of passage.

And, of course, there's Kennedy himself -- part big brother, part father figure, whose sage advice and inspirational stature offer a shining example of the kind of firefighter Morrison would like to be.

Except, perhaps, on the homefront, where the long-divorced Kennedy serves as a carefree uncle to his colleagues' kids -- and doesn't have to deal with the wrenching conflicts most of his firefighters face, trying to balance their home lives with the demands of their second firehouse families.

Throughout the movie, there are several firefighting sequences, in buildings large and small, but all of them fairly horrific in one way or another. The best sequence involves Jack rescuing a man on the ledge of a tall office building. Jack is lowered from the roof, but the petrified man panics, causing the two to dangle in midair. A different kind of horror involves Jack and his men running up the stairs of a burning brownstone, while rats run down from above.

Without being maudlin, ''Ladder 49'' puts an admirable face on family values, friendship, loss, sacrifice and all those virtues. Though the film is an unabashed paean to firemen, you can't help but leave the movie with a renewed respect for the dangerous job they do.

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