Only The Brave

November 3, 2017

‘As most of us run from danger, they run towards it.’

When Nanny Babe and I were invited to a screening of ‘Only The Brave’ we were not sure what to expect. We thought this movie about the Granite Mountain Hotshot Fire Crew might be more appealing to the males in our families. We were wrong. From the first scenes showing the beautiful American mountain scenery to the firefighters careering to a fire with AC/DC blaring from the fire truck we were hooked.

This great ensemble piece features a brooding Josh Brolin, a feisty Jennifer Connelly and great cameos from Jeff Bridges and Andie McDowall. A raft of younger actors including – James Badge Dale (The Departed) and Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor) round out the movie playing the hotshot team and their families.There are plenty of action scenes and gasp out loud moments in the film but ultimately it is the relationships you remember – between husbands and wives, workmates and friends and the people and communities whose lives and homes these fearless firefighters save.’Only The Brave’ is even more poignant because it is a true and tragic story which director Joseph Kosinski has told with compassion and heart.

The Cast

Josh Brolin is wonderful as the crusty but kind Superintendent Eric Marsh who is in charge of the crew. He is a father figure to his men. We first meet the ‘Supe’ and his crew who are desperate to earn their hotshot accreditation. The crew must deal with bureaucracy all the while fighting massive wildfires and trying to navigate relationships with their long suffering families and other team members. Ultimately they become one of the most admired Hotshot crews in the USA.

A pivotal part of the story was when Eric Marsh takes a chance on new rookie Brendan McDonough, played empathetically by Miles Teller. A troubled young man with a record- ‘ Donut ‘ as the crew nicknames him, wants to turn his life around after the birth of his daughter. ’Supe’ gives him a chance and after a rocky start he earns the respect of the men in his crew and becomes part of his baby daughter’s life again.

Jennifer Connelly was magnificently prickly as Marsh’s wife, Amanda. She owns every scene she is in. Whilst Jeff Bridges showed why he is an Oscar winner giving just the right amount of toughness and warmth as Area Chief- Duane Steinbrink.

About the Film

The movie ‘Only The Brave’ shows the massive amount of time firefighters spend away from family and how this affects them all. It also highlights how decisions made by firefighters at the scene can affect the outcome -saving thousands of homes and people. There are some great action scenes of the team fighting massive wildfires. It is dangerous, dirty and backbreaking work. Yet as the ‘Supe’ says  “ This is the greatest job in the world.”

There are bromances, romances and heart wrenching fire scenes. In one great scene the firefighters save their own town’s historic tree making them front page news and earning them the respect of the whole town. You can tell this film was a labour of love for all involved.

Sadly the last fire fought by the Granite Mountain Hotshots was the Yarnell Hill fire. This fire which  these men fought so bravely to extinguish ended up claiming the most firefighter’s lives in the USA since the September 11 attacks. You will come away from this movie feeling emotional and shocked but this biographical action drama is ultimately a touching tribute to its subjects and as solidly powerful as the real life heroes the film pays tribute too. It has been highly acclaimed in the USA and rightly so. ‘ Only The Brave’ will be in cinemas from November 30.

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