“Only the Brave” is a powerful and moving tribute to men and women who sacrifice their lives to protect people, homes and the wilderness.
The story about the Granite Mountain Hotshots could not have been released at a more opportune time. With a summer full of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and the recent devastation in California, fire and fire crews are on everybody’s mind.
The film will also speak to many in our region who have battled forest fires themselves or know family and friends who have.
This film makes those sacrifices real to audiences. However, it might be a little too real for some who have experienced the devastation and loss first-hand.
Judging “Only the Brave” solely on its cinematic achievements, the film still would be a triumph.
Through the story, viewers get to know the crew of the Granite Mountain Hotshots before they earn that title. Filmmakers anchor the story and draw in the audience by focusing on two men, Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) and Brendan “Doughnut” McDonough (Miles Teller). These two men are similar in temperament, but Marsh is a seasoned firefighter nearing the end of his career, while McDonough is new volunteer looking for a start.
The cast is rounded out with the rest of the Hotshot crew. The story comes to life with the interactions between the crew. There are funny times with teasing and pranks as well as more serious times when one of the “brothers” needs help. The cast jells well, allowing audiences to see these men become family, a family forged in fire as the crew battles fires all around the state of Arizona. Viewers join the crew as it creates lines and back burns and comes home dirty, smoky and tired.
If “Only the Brave” feels like real life is playing out on screen, that’s because it did. The film’s title is no mistake. It’s clear after witnessing even a cinematic version of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that only the brave can turn and face the fire.