Firefighters have long been regarded as everyman heroes—just ask any 3-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up. But after 9/11, their brawn and bravery took on mythic stature. Although that national tragedy has nothing directly to do with Ladder 49 (2004), its impact on this flick is undeniable, from the epic tone to the heart-racing F/X to the heartfelt performances. Ladder 49 follows the life of search-and-rescue fireman Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) in flashback, as he waits for his mentor, Captain Mike Kennedy (John Travolta) to save him from an inferno. While no cliché is left unturned (the romance, the male bonding, the wide-eyed child), no eyes are left dry either. Formulaic yet forceful, Ladder 49 is a three-hankie weepy aimed at guys who don’t eat quiche—and the women who cook it for them anyway.
Ladder 49 plays tonight Tuesday, January 1 at 10:30 p.m. EST | 9:30 C on AMC.Read More