I have the greatest respect for emergency responders as they have the toughest job you can find. Their bravery and sacrifice will always be remembered. With Only The Brave, it tells the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group of firefighters who specialize in combatting wildfires. On June 30, 2013 the Granite Mountain Hotshots were battling the Yarnell Hill fire that occurred in Yarnell, Arizona which resulted in the death of 19 firefighters. The bravery of the Hotshots is remembered and Director Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) along with his writers Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) and Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) have crafted a beautifully photographed film to tell the Hotshots’ story in an honorable way.
The weather is hot and dry in Arizona and wildfires often occur. The Prescott Fire Department, located at Station Number 7, are close to getting their Type 1 handcrew status as hotshots. Hotshots are elite firefighters who are heavily trained in combatting large wildland fires with little to no logistical support. They also are the first ones to respond to wildfire suppression. They are on the front lines of the fire. It’s been a while since the Station Number 7 crew has trained to obtain this elite status and now the doors are opening up looking for some new recruits. The Commander of the Station is Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), a good leader and one who loves his job almost more than his wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly). His addiction to the job leads to some great moments with the crew and his wife.
Young Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) has a tough time organizing his life. He has a drug addiction, steals, and has a baby on the way. He wants to provide a good life for his soon-to-arrive daughter and looks for a job with the fire department. The training proves tough for him, but he pushes on just like the rest of the men. We get to meet some other colorful characters such as Captain Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale) and Chris Mackenzie (Taylor Kitsch). There is a strong sense of the brotherhood as each man covers himself and their fellow brothers when the fire starts heating up,
Only The Brave surprised me with showing the audience of how the team earned their hotshot status. Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges) is a close friend of Eric Marsh and sets them up on an evaluation to determine if they have what it takes to be up close and personal with the fire. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the fire scenes are just as intense as Backdraft. The movie also has its slow moments where we get to see how the firefighters live and what goes on with their lives, but among everything else, we see that the brotherhood of the firefighters ranks the highest.
Verdict 4 out of 5
Only The Brave is a very intense film that details the real-life heroes who save towns from complete devastation. I think the movie could’ve been twenty minutes shorter and showed more development of each member of the Granite Mountain Hotshots but other than that, Only The Brave is a honorary tribute to real heroes who make the sacrifice everyday they wake up in the morning. Never forget the ones who give up everything to ensure that we live safe lives as Only The Brave is just as emotional as last year’s Deepwater Horizon. It’s a touching tribute.