Backdraft (1991) Review


When Stephen and Brian McCaffrey must start working together in a Chicago fire station this is going to prove testing in their strained relationship. But they must band together when a very dangerous arsonist is on the loose and firefighters are getting killed.


Brian is the rookie firefighter and when he is stationed at the same station as his older brother he feels that he must impress him as well as the rest of the station. Across the city of Chicago the firefighters are all at risk due to the arsonist and the murders that are taking place because of this. When heading to a fire they are now less safe than normal not knowing if this is an accident or set up by the criminal.

The film can be looked at in two parts, the first being the relationship between the two brothers and how they had to deal with the death of their father who was also a firefighter. Then the mystery behind the arsonist and who was behind the whole thing.

The special effects in the film are truly breathtaking and it really does fill you with a sense of fear watching the flames break free and spread. Managing to capture the very real feel for the fire. Something that is picked up on in the story is that when going to the fight the fire, you can’t always just attack it you have to understand it. I found that to be really interesting in terms of actual technique and skill used. This was very helpful advice for Brian to take on and really does help him progress and grow from the start to finish of the story.

I will admit I did guess how it was going to end, as everything was pointing towards that for quite a while which was a shame but it certainly made for some powerful scenes. Ron Howard managed to get a very good mixture of plenty of themes and a decent story to match the impressive and outstanding special effects. They do attempt to have a few little twists within the plot but they aren’t the most difficult to work out, which is a shame really as I think just a little bit more would have pushed me towards the 4 star rating instead of the 3. Very enjoyable though so cannot complain about that, the running time pushes to nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes and the best compliment I can give the film is that it did not feel that long at all.

William Baldwin really impressed me in the leading role and brought plenty to the screen. Especially during scenes with Kurt Russell and Robert De Niro, the latter in a more supporting role as Captain. Not forgetting Donald Sutherland being given a couple of opportunities to scene steal, something that lets face it he is very good at! Kurt Russell I feel is an actor who I just haven’t watched enough and I always wonder why because he is very enjoyable in the different roles I have seen him in so far.

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