Reel Reviews: Only the Brave

When it comes to civil servants, I hold much respect for our courageous firefighters. Yes, the police keep us safe from criminals, however, a person can be reasoned with, coerced or lulled into submission. Fire, on the other hand, can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And yes, I just quoted The Terminator. Fire can only be extinguished, and the men and women who put themselves between the populace and the pyre deserve respect and gratitude. Respect and gratitude are among the subjects addressed in Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy; Oblivion) and Columbia Pictures’ latest film Only the Brave—starring Josh Brolin (Hail, Caesar!), Miles Teller (Bleed for This), and Forrest Fyre (War on Everyone).

Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Only the Brave follows Eric Marsh (Brolin) of the Prescott, Ariz., Fire Department. Marsh begins to become frustrated when front line forest firefighting crews, or Hotshot crews, from afar overrule his operational suggestions when fighting wildfires in his jurisdiction, much to his area’s sorrow. To eradicate these exacerbating exchanges, Marsh gets approval from Mayor Worthington (Fyre) to attempt to organize an unprecedented certified municipal-based Hotshot crew for Prescott. To achieve this, Marsh will need a fresh batch of recruits to undergo and pass the rigorous training and qualification testing that comes with certifying for the most dangerous of firefighting duties. Among these new recruits is good-for-nothing layabout Brendan McDonough (Teller), who is looking to change everyone’s image of him. After a vetting process and rigorous training montage bonds are formed along the way. With challenges met and overcome, all the men—especially McDonough—are changed, as maturity and respect is achieved in fire-forged camaraderie.

Thus, the distinguished Granite Mountain Hotshots are born.

All this training and brotherhood is put to the test when the notorious and devastating Yarnell Hill Fire erupts ravaging the countryside and threatening whole communities. As the fire consumes all, leaving ash and devastation in its terrifying wake, the Granite Mountain Hotshots put forth every effort to harness and extinguish the dastardly conflagration. However, extinguishing this blaze will demand efforts and sacrifices that will impact the town of Prescott for a generation.

Only the Brave is an outstanding biographical drama the likes of Deepwater Horizon. The cast and crew of Only the Brave did a marvelous job on not only highlighting the horrors of battling wildfires, but also the bonds of brotherhood that are created within crews. This film really delves into what a person must endure to become a Hotshot, a position widely considered akin to a Navy SEAL. Overall, Only the Brave is an ardent, graphic, action packed film that’s totally worth your hard-earned dollars. Now, take a trek down to your local cinema and have some fun at the movies!