Quick Movie Review: Backdraft – 1991 – directed by Ron Howard

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Drama
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Two fire-fighter brothers must get past their differences and work together before a dangerous arsonist strikes again.

That is the basic plot of the film, although the film has a lot more depth than simply that. The two brothers are played by Kurt Russell and William Baldwin. Russell plays the older brother who is a well-respected fireman following after their father. Baldwin plays a new recruit who people only recognise because he was there when their father was killed in an arson attack. They don’t get on very well and this love hate relationship is the basic backbone of the film.

Along the way we get other great actors such as Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland (although his role isn’t really necessary) and Scott Glenn. All of them are as good as ever and all gel into a great team. The actual fire fighting teams of the film actually feel like a unit and they do feel like they have fought fires together for years. This is helped by a great script and amazing direction by Ron Howard. I guess at times the script can get a bit corny and sentimental but this never took away from what was on screen (which is impressive when you consider it runs at just under two and a half hours in length.

The thing that truly makes this film stand out from everything else is the fire. It really does become a character in itself. Howard opted to use real fire instead of CGI as he realised it was the only way to make it look real. He also placed the actors in the fire which helps make everything believable as they are there. It was brave for all the actors to be willing to do this and it really shows.

the film culminates in an amazing inferno inside a warehouse. The VFX team did an amazing job. The fire looks truly threatening and having the actors in it really does make it that bit more special. The dialogue gets a little silly during the heightened tension between characters but it works.

The whole film feels very much like a Ron Howard film in the fact that it gives you that semi feel good feeling at the end and makes you think about the characters you’ve just been watching. I really love this film and think it is a brilliant example of pure filmmaking. 8/10

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