Only the Brave
Out Now On-Demand
It's not what stands in front of you. It's who stands beside you.
Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges star in this drama based on the true story of the 2013 Yarnell Fire in Arizona. From the director of Oblivion and TRON: Legacy, and bizarrely featuring a cast member named Forrest Fyre in a minor supporting role (no, we are not making this up).
In 2013, one of the most destructive wildfires in American history devastated Arizona. An elite crew of firefighters - the Granite Mountain Hotshots - heroically combatted the blaze, in what was the deadliest incident of any kind for U.S. firefighters since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Drama, True Story & Biography
Rating: M Offensive language
Director Joseph Kosinski follows up his sci-fi pics with the down-to-earth true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite US firefighters who risked all to save their town. Think The Perfect Storm, only in a forest, and you’re in the ballpark for a drama jettisoning macho posturing and Hollywood heroics for a respectful, low-key approach.
Josh Brolin is the tough leader, fighting to get his team certified as “Hotshots”, ready to protect their town from forest fire. He’s aided by Jeff Bridges, barely recognisable as ‘The Dude’ save when singing and strumming guitar at a hoedown. Miles Teller is a young recruit, set on cleaning up his act and caring for his new-born daughter, by joining Brolin’s crew.
Cinematographer Caudio Miranda catches the simultaneous beauty and horror of forest fire, whilst Joseph Trapanese’s score serves but never overwhelms the action. Eschewing formulaic clichéd action beats, Only the Brave shows the fire-fighters training and working, but also the characters’ home lives, kids and wives. Jennifer Connelly as Brolin’s horse-whispering partner delivers a rounded character, with the entire cast delivering sincere performances - from Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale and Andie MacDowell, to the improbably named Forrest Fyre as the town’s mayor.
These imperfect people, facing extraordinary circumstances, become realistic relatable heroes, thanks to a committed cast, a director ditching showy tricks, and a narrative that takes its time. Some may find the first hour slow going, but the sincere investment in character pays off in a final act that manages to be genuinely moving.
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
TimeOut (New York)
The Guardian (UK)
NZ Herald (Francesca Rudkin)
Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)
Sydney Morning Herald