ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
Not really a traditional disaster movie but Ron Howard’s 1991 thriller (gosh, is it really that old?) draws on the same primal fear of fire that fuelled The Towering Inferno. Here, the emphasis is not on one dominant conflagration, but a string of arson attacks and a Chicago fire crew containing two Irish-American brothers, maverick Kurt Russell and wet-behind-the- ears William Baldwin. The “backdraft” gives sentient life to the fire through clever use of special effects and sound, while a whodunnit combines with civic corruption and action set pieces to keep the story alight. Robert De Niro is the arson investigator, Donald Sutherland a jailed pyromaniac, JT Walsh a cost-cutting public servant and the thrilling score is by Hans Zimmer (Gladiator). I guess it took 9/11 to really enshrine firefighters as heroes, but Backdraft taps presciently into that.
Dirty Harry ★★★★★
Clint Eastwood dispenses rough justice with the aid of a .44 Magnum in the first outing for San Francisco’s own avenging angel.
A tense, true story with a surprising turn from all-American hero Tom Cruise as a German officer with a bold plan to bump off Hitler. He’s backed by a sterling line-up of Brits.
Flash Gordon ★★★
11.05pm-1.15am Film Four
You can’t help but burst into the Queen anthem and films soundtrack whenever ‘Flash’ is mentioned. Embrace the corny performances and cheesy special effects in this big-budget fantasy flop.
The Constant Gardener ★★★★
Not just a socially conscious thriller but a stirring love story with an Oscar-winning Rachel Weisz. But Ralph Fiennes carries it as the quiet man digging for answers about her death.