I had absolutely no idea what to do this week. Russ suggested this title for me and I tried. Enjoy.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
The film opens up as fire investigator Charles Leary, played by Jeremy Renner, is giving a speech about how fires spread. It’s a scary speech that goes into violent detail about the power of fire. The camera pulls back and we see he is in 3rd grade classroom and the kids are shocked. He looks at the disappointed teacher, played by Elizabeth Banks, as she shakes her head at him. The principal steps in and asks the classroom what to do if they are on fire and they all shout “Stop, Drop and Roll!”
Outside Leary is smoking staring at the lighter. Quick cuts of fires and burned people flash on the screen and he drops it. The teacher, Rachel Hunter, picks it up and gives it back to him and it is clear they are dating. They talk about how he has become burnt out (they actually use this term) and jaded from his job. Fire Trucks zoom by as his phone rings. It’s the chief, played by James Gandolfini, standing outside a burning warehouse and says, “Get down here Leary. He’s back.”
Leary walks through the burnt warehouse and comes across a corpse. He explains that the fire started right there at the body and that it has to be “Roll”. A young rookie officer asks what he means and he walks away. The chief explains to the rookie that Roll is the one arsonist that Leary could never find. As he explains we see what he is talking about. Roll, whose face we don’t see, tails a homeless man and knocks him out. The man wakes up in the empty warehouse, standing with his hands tied behind him. Roll approaches and pours gasoline on the man and says, “you know what to do” as he lights him on fire. When the man goes to drop to the ground it turns out Roll also pours gas on the floor and the fire only intensifies. The chief explains that Roll disappeared a year ago.
Leary is late meeting Rachel for dinner and she talks about her planned sabbatical. He seems distracted so she questions him about the fire. He tells her about Roll and how he wants to catch him, he needs to find him. She wonders why Roll has been inactive for so long and suggests maybe he took a sabbatical. They laugh but another fire calls Leary away. Another Roll murder but this time they find a cryptic note for Leary. “What was taken will be repaid.”
Leary visits the library to go through old news stories about fires looking for clues. He comes across a story of a woman who died in a fire started by a group of homeless men from their barrel fire. The article mentions that she had a husband. Leary tries to find anything on the husband but his search gets nothing.
Leary walks through the school looking for Rachel. Passing through the halls he hears the principal calling him and walks into his office. They talk as Leary looks at the pictures on his desk. He picks up on of the principal fishing. The principal explains he went on sabbatical last year. As he says this Leary notices a picture of the dead woman he researched and is knocked out.
He awakens in an empty warehouse. The principal taunts him about never catching him. He puts a bit of gasoline on Leary and says, “you know what to do” and lights him on fire. Leary stands his ground. Roll gets angry, as Leary stands tall. “NO! DROP! ROLL!” he screams and charges manically at Leary. The rope has burned through and Leary side steps him and throws him into the gasoline puddle. Roll burns up as Leary runs outside and rolls in the dirt. He has some major burns but he is alive. The chief arrives with Rachel and she rides to the hospital with him in the ambulance. He looks out the window at the warehouse fire and smiles.