Under the watchful eye of his mentor Captain Mike Kennedy, probationary firefighter Jack Morrison matures into a seasoned veteran at a Baltimore fire station. Jack has reached a crossroads, however, as the sacrifices he's made have put him in harm's way innumerable times and significantly impacted his relationship with his wife and kids. Responding to the worst blaze in his career, he becomes trapped inside a 20-story building. And as he reflects on his life, now Deputy Chief Kennedy frantically coordinates the effort to save him.
A terrible blaze traps a firefighter (Joaquin Phoenix) in a Baltimore building. As his co-workers (led by chief John Travolta) try to figure out a way to help him escape, Phoenix thinks about the last 10 years of his life. Through those years of fighting fires he experienced triumph (meeting and marrying the love of his life, Jacinda Barrett) and also living through several tragedies (deaths and injuries to fellow firemen). "Ladder 49" is comparable to a legendary athlete, it is not always great but it is great when it has to be. The movie has many shortcomings. There are dead spots galore and watching firefighters getting drunk in wild bars and playing silly pranks on one another do not always put them in a favorable light. However, the film's final act is excellent as we learn what Phoenix's fate is. In many ways an homage to those brave individuals in New York who sacrificed all during the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and also a deceptively smart character study. Travolta is excellent and Phoenix is nearly as good. Members of the supporting cast all have their moments and by the end "Ladder 49" climbed high enough for me. 4 stars out of 5.
51 of 64 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this