At A Glance
There is nothing more powerful than the force of nature, and Only The Brave is a powerful film that is a real force majeure.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Written by Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer
Based on the GQ article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn
Released by Lionsgate UK
2018, 134 minutes
Available VOD, Blu-ray and DVD
Josh Brolin as Eric Marsh
Miles Teller as Brendan McDonough
Jeff Bridges as Duane Steinbrink
Jennifer Connelly as Amanda Marsh
James Badge Dale as Jesse Steed
Taylor Kitsch as Christopher MacKenzie
Only The Brave - Review
By Claire Bueno
Spoiler alert. This review contains plot details.
The story pivots around two central characters, Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) and Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller). But the backbone of the film predominantly demonstrates the trajectory of how a crew of committed firefighters pursue a certification, to become elite firefighters labelled ‘Hotshots’. Men who face the blaze head on, by fighting fire with fire.
The crew are a band of brothers, camaraderie is key, it has to be. They systematically work side by side to combat raging wildfires, which cause unsurmountable devastation.
Perhaps it’s hard for us in Britain to understand the shear gravitas of the destruction caused by these fires, but having spent a little time in America filming the documentary CLEANIN' UP THE TOWN: Remembering Ghostbusters, I have mildly experienced the threat imposed to our safety. I’ve witnessed plumes of smoke bellowing from the hills, on the not too distant horizon. The smell of smoke that fills your nostrils, and breathing in the caustic air. Even from afar it is unnerving, let alone putting yourself on the front line.
And so, these men earn their rightful position, and become the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The esteemed firefighters travel extensively during fire season, taking them for long periods of time from their families. The film successfully acknowledges the stress, and the toll this can take, together with the added burden of not knowing whether your loved one will actually return at all.
The climax of the film builds towards the ravaging Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona, culminating in the heart-wrenching ultimate act of heroism, sacrificed by Granite Mountain Hotshots.
The event took place in 2013, and as such is still very recent history. This I would imagine, put the filmmakers in a very delicate position, of handling this film with the highest degree of sensitivity. These 18 men are still very much in the minds, consciousness and hearts of friends and families.
This film could not have been made with any more detail and respect. It does not over embellish, or over dramatize. The filmmakers were reluctantly given the trust to tell this story, and they have done an honourable job.
Reasons to invest in this movie. Firstly, Only the Brave is a true-story of courage, tenacity and sacrifice. Secondly, Only the Brave has such a wealth of talent spanning multiple generations, who deliver credible, authentic performances, including Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller.
Strong leadership is key to the story in front and behind the camera. Josh Brolin nails it with his interpretation of Superintendent Eric Marsh, as does Joseph Kosinski as director of the film.
Only The Brave manages to convincingly convey very real people with faults, frailties but who have passion and commitment and are all capable of redemption.
The paramount visual effects, certainly create the desired potency of fire, and its treacherousness.
The bonus feature also don’t disappoint, they are thorough and enlightening. You will see how the filmmakers worked intimately with the Prescott, Arizona locals, home of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and how intimately the actors worked with the fire.
The word that is constantly used in the interviews with cast and crew, was the desire to create authenticity, well from my inexperienced point of view, they certainly did that.
Only The Brave is a powerful, heart-wrenching, solidly told story of heroism. It is a story of pride, one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and two by the filmmakers themselves.