‘Backdraft’: After 30 years, a Chicago firefighting movie that still crackles

  • Source: Chicago Sun Times - Metered Site
  • Published: 09/03/2021 12:00 AM

Ask any 10 firefighters to name the best movie about their profession and I’ll bet seven or eight immediately would cite the Chicago-set “Backdraft,” which to this day sets the bar for the most impressive staging of raging, roaring, realistic fires, accomplished primarily through practical effects on controlled sets, with the addition of some spectacular blending of visual effects courtesy of Industrial Light & Magic. Ron Howard’s admittedly sentimental and sometimes bloated love letter to the heroes who run into burning buildings traffics heavily in cliches about Chicago firefighters and in particular those of Irish-American descent, and the melodrama often gets soapy — but every time there’s a fire in a warehouse or an apartment building or an old auditorium or a private home, we can practically feel the heat and smell the smoke as the flames lick the walls and roar all around.


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