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Ladder 49

A movie directed by Jay Russell

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Whole hearted 5 Stars

  • May 9, 2005
Maybe am a little Bias, but my family descends from a long line within the fireservice: Great Grandfather, grandfather, dad, mom, brother and myself. Maybe that is why ladder 49
struck such a chord inside me.

Ladder 49 opens with Jaquin Pheonix racing into a burning warehouse with word that somewhere within the inferno are two possible survivors. When the situation shifts for the worst, Pheonix's character is haunted by the memories of a loving family outside the blaze.

What follows in this scene and continues throughout the film, are arguably some of the most intense fire-situations ever captured for a movie. Most people may think of Backdraft, a Ron Howard film, but to me Backdraft had way too many unbelievable flaws to be realistic and ended up being just a good action flick. (Example - to name one - Firefighters racing
into a burning building full of smoke, with nothing but their eye visors flipped down. Reason? They said we, the audience wouldn't be able to tell the difference between actors. Realism...or star power... hm, tough choice. This viewer would rather see intensity of an actual situation, rather than the glitz of a well-makuped actor. What has young Mr Baldwin done since Backdraft again? I keep forgetting.) Climbing off soapbox.

I sometimes catch myself throwing this phrase around loosely, but with this I have no doubt, Ladder 49 is one of the 50 best films I have ever seen in my lifetime. John Travolta gives one of his most sincerest performances as a firechief (as my dad was) trying to protect his men, both at work and home. The supporting cast is excellent and I believed every minute of what I was watching. This coming from someone who has spent their entire life around the fire hall.

The dvd is spectacular. The dolby digital home theater sound mix couldn't be better. Deep rumblings, wisping flames, spewing steam, and violent explosions rain throughout. The only thing keeping me from from the action, was room temperature. What a
great mix! The video quality is excellent as well; deep blacks and bright flames are well defined and skin tones are natural with crisp details staying true to the directors vision.

Ladder 49 is a brilliant and moving film, capturing the brotherhood, heartbreaks, and plentiful adrenaline rushes of
working in the fire industry. I was a dispatcher for 2 years, the real heroes are the remaining members of my family I mentioned above. I wish we could give the pro-athletes 30 grand a year and give the millions to our firefighters and paramedics. They deserve it. ~SAOS~

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More Ladder 49 reviews
review by . September 15, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Phoenix, Travolta     Cons: none     The Bottom Line: “Shine your light down on me   Lift me up so I can see   Shine your light when you're gone   Give me the strength to carry on”   Robbie Robertson     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. As predictable as it is, Ladder 49 is still a remarkable movie. The beginning of the movie is centered around a large …
review by . August 29, 2006
Ladder 49 was not the type of film I expected-- I was hoping for a good, fast-paced action flick, which I got for about the first 5 minutes. The remainder of the 30 minutes that I watched was flashback to the rookie firefighter's first days at the station.     Someone looking for drama and a story about the growth of a firefighter would probably like this movie. However, those looking for action should probably look elsewhere.
review by . March 10, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
LADDER 49 is a story searching for a script. Though filled (literally almost every frame) with some of the best pyrotechnics material that has been filmed, the story is an obvious one that seems it wants to pay tribute to the firemen who protect us - a very worthy intent.    The problem with this film is the flatness of the characters. We know no more about the characters in the story at the end of the film than we do at the beginning, and the beginning is the end of this flimsy …
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Adam Hunnicutt ()
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About this movie


In paying simple tribute to firefighters,Ladder 49gets to the heart of those who risk their lives for a living. Director Jay Russell brought similar sincerity to his memorable family favoriteMy Dog Skip, and despite the banalities of an ultra-conventional screenplay by Lewis Colick,Ladder 49generates so much goodwill toward its Baltimore firemen that you may find yourself unexpectedly overcome with emotional appreciation for guys like Jack (Joaquin Phoenix), a firefighter whose career, courtship, marriage, and fatherhood are viewed in flashback as he struggles to survive in the present-day framing scenes, cut off from his fellow firemen in the fiery guts of a collapsing 20-floor building. There are no surprises in the familiar scenes of male bonding, dangerous rescues, injury and death, and the supportive concern of Jack's wife (Jacinda Barrett), but by focusing on the simple integrity of Jack's personal and professional commitment, the movie gives Phoenix a showcase for unselfish virtue, while John Travolta provides dignified support as Jack's mentor and devoted firehouse captain.Ladder 49is routine in most respects, but it's a much-deserved valentine to working-class heroes.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Jay Russell
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: October 1, 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Lewis Colick
DVD Release Date: March 08, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 54min
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Touchstone Pictures
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