Ladder 49

I can hardly say enough bad things about this poorly constructed hanky-movie. Essentially, we watch firefighter Jack Morrison relive the emotional highlights of his life as he lies dying on the floor of a burning building. It’s kind of like going to a stranger’s 25th wedding anniversary: lots of slide show moments, but you have no reason to connect to them. Joaquin Phoenix is decent in the lead, and even John Travolta turns in a passable performance, but they’re swimming against a rip tide of goopy feelings. With every moment of the film at the same emotional register, there’s no way to get into the story, and the only pleasure to be taken from this film is in the fact that it finally ends.

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