Thursday, October 19, 2017

ONLY THE BRAVE

ONLY THE BRAVE movie poster
The true story of Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of firefighters who gallantly battled the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013. Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) led his team from training through their certification as Hotshots to the fire they so bravely fought.

Spectacular firefighting sequences heighten the emotional impact of this real-life story. As a longtime Arizona resident, this tragic event will forever live in my memory. Director Joseph Kosinski ("Oblivion") has crafted an unforgettable film that easily stands alongside "Backdraft". It more closely resembles
the Richard Widmark smoke jumper classic "Red Skies of Montana", but this time it's all true. Much of the screenplay by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer focuses on the camaraderie and the training of this elite group. This is necessary to make the ending so powerful. With 20 members, this drama centers mostly on the lives of team superintendent Eric "Supe" Marsh and new recruit Brendan McDonough. Well-acted throughout, Josh Brolin heads the cast as the work-obsessed Marsh who has little time for his devoted strong-willed wife Amanda, brilliantly portrayed by Jennifer Connelly. Miles Teller is magnificent as McDonough, looking to leave his irresponsible druggie lifestyle behind after learning he's a father. Taylor Kitsch and James Badge Dale are among the supporting players who manage to add depth to their firefighter characters with very little screen time. As retired Prescott wildland division chief Duane Steinbrink, who mentored Marsh and helped the team gain Hotshot status, Jeff Bridges is a commanding presence. He gets to sing during one of the film's lighter moments. A haunting score by Joseph Trapanese accompanies Claudio Miranda's breathtaking cinematography. Stick around for the credits to see photos of the actual Hotshots and hear Dierks Bentley sing "Hold the Light". "Only the Brave" is an uplifting, courageous and ultimately heartbreaking salute to these heroes. (4 CAMS)


Rated PG-13 (thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material)
Running Time: 133 minutes