Where The Little Firemen lacks in quality, it makes up in content.

Quincy Perkins’ The Little Firemen is not only informative but also emotionally engaging.  

High in the Andes Mountains in Peru, nine fearless boys and their leader travel down the steep and dangerous Central Highway. The children ride on homemade, wooden go-carts and save people who have wrecked, or whose cars have broken down.

Though the road itself is dangerous, the surrounding area poses a greater threat: narco-terrorists — terrorists who smuggle illegal drugs. The terrorists belong to a group called the Shining Path, which emerged in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and changed its focus from politics to crime. The terrorists are known for kidnapping children, forcing them to smuggle drugs for money and ultimately killing them.

Despite these somber conditions, the documentary also captures the joy the firemen feel when they save numerous lives. The children do not boast of their successes, though — they save these people out of kindness. They also fill potholes on the road. Those traveling the road will throw spare change out of their windows for the firemen. The boys find joy out of riding their carts, providing money for their families and saving the lives of those who need saving.

The Little Firemen sends the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions. One moment, the audience feels the joy of riding on one of the go-carts, and of hearing the boys talk about how they saved several citizens from a vehicle that fell off the side of a cliff. In another moment, the audience members' hearts break when the boys tell a story of how the narco-terrorists kidnapped one of the firemen, who was never found. The many emotions captured in The Little Firemen, will surely overwhelm all audiences.

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For a documentary, the film has nice camera control. The only time the frame shakes is when they are traveling down a bumpy road. The picture is not always of the best quality, but that is not uncommon for a documentary of this nature. In some instances, the lens may have been unfocused, or the picture grainy. The lighting was also off at times because most of the footage was shot under cloud-covered skies. Though these aspects are important to a film, they are not the most crucial parts. It is the content, not the quality, of the film that will move the audience.

With the boys performing such life-threatening work, people can often forget they are still boys. The Little Firemen draws the audience in by showing the true essence of the kids. They laugh like other children. They go outside, play and get dirty like young boys. Their personalities fill the screen and deeply move the audience — this is the true power of The Little Firemen.

Rating: 4.5/5



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