Ladder 49 | Chicago Reader

Ladder 49

This drama about Baltimore firefighters makes a serious effort to honor the sacrifices of professional rescue workers, but blasts of hokum keep threatening to collapse the building. The narrative frame has the hero (Joaquin Phoenix) badly wounded in a factory blaze and his comrades struggling to save him, while flashbacks detail his days at the rowdy Irish Catholic firehouse and examine his family's anxiety over his dangerous work. Full of noble men and good women, Celtic flutes and barroom bear hugs, this is a movie about hard choices that takes the easy way out almost every time. Jay Russell (Tuck Everlasting) directed; with John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, and Morris Chestnut. PG-13, 115 min.

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