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Home arrow Movies arrow Ladder 49

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Ladder 49 Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Wednesday, 29 September 2004
ImageLadder 49 is a movie that provides a glimpse at the life of a firefighter.  In particular, the movie shows the personal sacrifices a firefighter makes on a day to day basis.  The story follows the career of Jack Harrison starting with his first day on the job.  It is touching as we see the ways that his passion, saving people, affects the lives of his friends and family.
Ultimately the movie answers the question, "Why do firemen run into a burning building when everyone else is running out?"
It will be hard to talk about this movie without giving away some of the key elements but I will try.  Spoiler wary people beware.
The movie starts in the middle of the action.  Several firefighting units are fighting to control a large fire in a 20 story industrial building.  A rescue crew from the Ladder 49 crew is sent in to find someone who is trapped on the 12th floor.  Jack Harrison find the guy and helps him out the window.  Just as he finishes the floor collapses and he falls through down to the lower level.  The rest of the movie is flashbacks from Jack while he's waiting to be resuced.
Through the flashbacks we see Jack's first day at the fire house, his marriage to Linda, the birth of his kids, and other important aspects of his life.  At times these flashbacks are humorous and touching. We also see the intense passion he has for rescuing and saving people. But most importantly, they tell us who Jack is and what drives him. 
Finally, tragedy strikes and Jack's firefighting career ends. This is where the movie could have been stronger.  We would have liked to see about 5 more minutes showing the lasting impact that Jacks efforts had on the world he touched.  How did the rescues throughout his career out live him?  These things would have changed the final feelings of the movie to ones of inspiration rather than sorrow.
There were several firefighters viewing the screening that we watched.  I didn't have a chance to see their reactions to the movie but I can't help but wonder if it didn't hit close to home. 
Obviously this movie was meant to have an emotional impact.  And it did.  But I think that maybe it wasn't as strong because the outcome was so predictable.  Nearly everyone in the audience knew what was going to happen.  Somehow the movie gave it away. 
I recommend this as a rental if you are interested in a touching and moving drama. 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 September 2004 )

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