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Ladder 49 Movie Review

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When we see movies we often expect a happy ending with the conflict of the movie to

be resolved. Ladder 49, however, doesn't end with a happy ending. In my mind I wanted

everything in the end to be ok. As Americans we are so used to seeing the "happily ever after"

endings. So when we see bad endings, they leave us uncomfortable, replying in our minds

what had just seen. My expectations before I saw the movie were that I was going to see

firefighters in action with a few conflicts that they would resolve, someone may die or get hurt

in the middle of the movie, and in the end everyone would be proud and happy. This is how a

movie of this kind typically is, but I was somewhat wrong.

In the 2004 film Ladder 49 Joaquin Phoenix stars as Jack Morrison a firefighter going

through the different stages of his life. John Travolta stars as Chief Mike Kennedy, throughout

the movie he aids Jack in his career as a firefighter and his personal life. He is a mentor to Jack

and the rest of the men in the fire house. Chief Kennedy is there when Jack gets married. He

is there when Jacks first child is born. He is the godfather to Jacks son. He is the "uncle" that

is not related by blood. Chief Kennedy plays a big role in Jacks life.

When the movie first starts it goes striaght into an action schene. All the firefighters are

sliding down the fire poles, putting their

gear on, and racing through traffic. It shows an entire

building burning in flames. At this point everything looks real, the special effects are great. In

order to make this schene look really good they show the building buring from different angles.

It shows the building burning from the perspective of a helicopter above the building. You canee the fire from the perspective of the fire fighters on the ladders and the people on the ground.

Changing perspectives is something they use through out the whole movie.

The movie uses drama and action mixed together. The emotions of the men when one of

their partners get in trouble is usually followed by an action scene. "Because it is attentive to

these human elements, "Ladder 49" draws from the action scenes instead of depending on them.

Phoenix, Travolta, and the others are given characters with dimension, so that what happens

depends on their decisions, not on the plot (Ebert)."

The movie also has a dramatic genre. When Jack Morrision falls three floors down,

right after he saves an innocent life, the sound volume goes down and he lies on the rubble

lifeless. This is where he has his flash backs. It is almost as though his life flashes before his

eyes. This gives his character depth, we learn about his family life. In one of the flashbacks his

friends gets burned severely. His son is worried about him getting burned and this is where he

doesn't know if he truly is safe. If a child is more worried about their parents than anything else,

then their parents should worry. The chief says he can get him an office job making more money

but Jack denies. He should have taken the job. His instincts were telling him he would get hurt,

but he ignored them.

Jack doesn't go through these problems alone, he has his wife. "The marriage of Jack

and Linda is not a movie marriage, but a convincing one with troubles and problems and love

that endures. Linda is not one more of those tiresome wives in action movies, who appear only

to complain that the hero should spend more time with his family. She is Jack's partner in their




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