Travolta stars as Mike Kennedy in a scene from LADDER
49, directed by Jay Russell.
TOUCHSTONE PICTURES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Distributed
by Buena Vista International.
"Action sequences and special effects feature
prominently but the movie is given balance with glimpses
into personal realities."
Ladder 49 is a journey in the life of Jack Morrison,
a soft hearted but determined Baltimore firefighter played
by Joaquin Phoenix. The film ends where it begins, with
Morrison trapped and injured in a multistory building being
engulfed by flames, and the story in between is presented
retrospectively, with the audience given a glimpse of the
defining moments in Morrison’s life. Action sequences
and special effects feature prominently but the movie is given
balance with glimpses into personal realities. Comradeship,
relational tensions, practical jokes, marriage, fatherhood,
grief, and death all make up the life of Morrison. John Travolta
gives a stand-out performance as the fire chief and mentor
of Morrison, John Kennedy. The movie sets out to show the
courage and bravery that firefighters display which some of
us already know but doesn’t hurt us to be reminded.
Bear with the some of the predictable rescue scenes involving
Morrison; they’re necessary to make a film of this genre.
The end for some may prove unpredictable, perhaps even disappointing,
but in some ways it’s fitting given the drift of the
storyline. For those who normally give action movies a wide
berth, there are moments here that will certainly capture