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By Phil Hall | September 1, 2004

“Dream Bike” is a sincere documentary about the fate of a decrepit motorcycle purchased by a New York firefighter who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The motorcycle in question was a rusted, broken down wreck purchased by firefighter Gerard Baptiste for $100 shortly before his death. His comrades at the firehouse where he worked came together with vehicle restoration specialists to transform the decrepit motorcycle into a shiny, fully-restored tribute to the fallen hero.

Whatever the film lacks in polish and pizzazz (and filmmaker John Allison is an incompetent, galumphing narrator), it more than compensates in regard to capturing the memory of a brave man and his friends who sought to render him tribute through the completion of a project he left behind. This is a beautiful tribute to a hero by those who truly savored his contribution to the world.

Film Threat readers may recall that I am based in New York and I witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center. “Dream Bike” had me in tears, recalling the tragedy of 9/11 and the days that followed when New York was awash in grief and mourning (New York’s firehouses were literally shrines that attracted the grieving who could not comprehend what had occurred – unless you were there, you cannot imagine the horror and the misery which enveloped the city). In recalling how the city came together after the attack, the film brought back buried memories of 9/11 and made me terribly bitter about what New York and America has since become. This film offers a jolting reminder of the goodwill that united the traumatized city after the terrorist attack, and it also serves as a bitter lesson of how far we’ve strayed in the three years since that day: America has jettisoned its pursuit of the 9/11 planners in favor of a gruesome war in Iraq (a country with no connection to the 9/11 attacks) while New York’s firefighters have resorted to harassing the city’s mayor to get long-overdue raises in their salaries. Where the f**k did we go wrong?

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