Superb performances and inspiration fuel the fire for this most engaging of movie dramas.
Inspirational, brave and heroic are just a few of the words that can be used to describe those individuals who put their lives on the line for the fire services all around the world and Joseph Kosinski’s Only The Brave is yet another fantastic depiction of those people who put everything at risk for the good and safety of the people. The Tron: Legacy and Oblivion director steers away from sci-fi to this time bring forth a story that is truly uplifting and one that has you truly invested in each of the core characters and immersed in their own life experiences.
Leading a team of trainees for the Prescott Fire Department in Arizona, Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) is looking to seize an unlikely opportunity for him and his crew to move from being overruled by the ‘Hotshot’ crews to becoming ‘Hotshots’ in their own right. Having gained the opportunity from the local mayor, Marsh and his team, including the likes of recovering junkie Brendan (Miles Teller), cocksure Mac (Taylor Kitsch) and trusty right hand man Jesse (James Badge Dale), strive for this promotion.
Thankfully, with their hard work and determination they soon become the Granite Mountain Hotshots and with it comes a new maturity and professionalism to the unit. But it also comes with ever-increasing dangers in terms of fires they look to put out in the forests, including the infamous Yarnell Hill Fire that will take all their skills and bravery and put them all to the ultimate test.
Only The Brave seems to have been one of those films that sadly went under the radar in 2017, lost in the mire of blockbusters and awards contenders, but in fact it should have received so much more praise than it seemed to have received. Kosinski’s film is an absolute triumph, perfectly capturing the themes of human spirit, heroism and real-life drama that only such a profession could bring with it. This is not a film designed to stun you with its otherworldly visuals (albeit the forest fires are wonderfully captured); instead Kosinski has forged a film that has a true beating heart at its core, with the development of its core character at the forefront and really allowing that connection with the audience before we truly experience the dangers of their job.
In order to enable that connectivity, a film demands towering performances and Only The Brave has that in aces. From Brolin’s leader of men to Teller’s struggling yet determined former drug addict, the film has enough varying characters with sufficient back story for us to truly root for them. Even Connelly, who could have easily been cast aside as the simple ‘wife at home’, has real meaning and is indeed an important entity in the overall story unfolding within the movie. Taylor Kitsch once again proves that he is so much better than his early career moves would suggest and James Badge Dale continues that trend where we remains an integral part of the ensemble. There’s little to fault here, even if Jeff Bridges may have demanded a spot where he can belt out a country tune for a scene!
Only The Brave is a simply brilliant movie experience, capturing the bravery and strength of a group of men putting their lives on the line for the good of the world. The cast are simply superb and the events unfolding leave you immersed in this true-life story of courage and sacrifice.
Only The Brave is out now on Digital Download, Blu-Ray and DVD.