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Into the Fire (Unrated)

Release Date: September 23rd, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Slowhand Releasing.
The Cast: Sean Patrick Flanery, Melina Kanakaredes, Jobeth Williams
Directed by Michael Phelan.

BASIC PREMISE: After Walter (Flanery), a New York Harbor Squad Lieutanant, fails to save a woman from a plane crash, he tries to balance his mental state by talking to her sister (Kanakaredes) and a grandmother (Williams) who lost her son in 9/11.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: It is difficult to be thoroughly engaging by the film because it has very little suspense or plot tension. The plane that crashed into the waters is never actually shown crashing, but that's alright. It's more important to watch Walter fail to save a survivor because that scene alone is what creates chaos for him during the rest of the film. Immediately, he ends up fired from his job. His chaotic mental state is soothed by two women who also some grief and regret with him. Unfortunately, there are very few surprises and no humor or wit to enliven this film. Flanery gives a decent performance, but it is really Williams and Kanakaredes who give very strong performances and are much more interesting characters. The pace is often so slow at times that it drags--a few scenes could have been easily cut to avoid this. Also, the editing is poor with some confusing jumps that make the plot seem like it meanders from one scene to the next. There are two somewhat redeeming qualities. One is that the original soundtrack and musical score are very effective as well as appropriate. The other is that the cinematography is very impressive with some impressively well-shot scenes mixed in with scenes that look real. If only the script made the character more real and added more tension, this would have been a much more entertaining film.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Everybody deals with grief in a different way. This film is moving in the way that it shows how bringing grief-stricken people together can somewhat face reality and move on with their lives. Being open and honest to others is the first step toward facing reality and, most often, it leads to epiphanies and even enlightenment.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal and meandering plot.


THE BOTTOM LINE: This is a moving, well-acted, and beautifully-shot film, but it drags at times and its plot lacks enough tension and focus to be engaging.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (2nd Run)

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