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. Heis 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 into an action scene.
All the firefighters are sliding down the fire poles, putting t hier 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 scene look really good they show the building bring from different angles. It shows the building burning from the perspective of a helicopter above the building. You can ee 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 family, and a source of his pride and courage at work (Cinema Guru Boy).' This explains how dramatic his life will be if he should die in that fire. The different camera angles cause for great action shots. But the sounds and music that were played also helped the movie be great. At Jacks wedding all the firefighters are dancing around and singing.
This displays the bond they have with each other. The sounds when Jack goes unconscious after he falls through the floors are loud scary and make you feel like you are there. The sound of the fire every time they go into a burning building can almost show the risks. The music that was played during Jacks funeral when the chief was marching, was heart wrenching An important scene in the movie is the very end. Jack Morrision has just finished having most of the flashbacks and he is now capable to get out of the debris and rubble. The chief tells him tear down a brick wall, in order for the firefighters to save him.
It takes him a while to tear it down. In the mean while the chief helps him out the whole time. He gets inside a supply room where the men are meant to find him. He looks out through the glass and he knows that there is no way he is going to be saved. The flames are getting worse and the firefighters that were rescuing him can not get through. Jack tells the chief to order them to turn around.
He tells the chief to tell his family that he loves them. He also tell the chief to take care of him. The chief cries and had to go tell jacks wife that he is dead. They both knew Jack was going to die but they had hope.
The entire movie was surrounded by Jack risking his life and doing his job. This movie was suppose to end by the chief going in to save Jack. Bad things aren' to happen to good people. But as we all know, life is not fair.
Maybe this film is so lifelike because the movie looked normal. Jack had bar-b-q's, he went out with his friends, took care of his children like normal people do. Should Jack have listened to his intuition? If he was so sure of himself then why was he always thinking if he was doing the right thing. Doubt is something that runs through a persons mind who is unsure.
Cinema guru boy. 'Ladder 49.' October 2004... October 2004. Ebert, Roger. 'Ladder 49.' October 2004... October 2004..