Only the Brave is a story based on the Granite Mountain Hotshots out of Arizona focusing on their struggle to become hotshots, their interactions with each other, raising families and finding purpose. It’s a beautifully shot film that deserves credit for its cinematography. The landscapes of Arizona and the powerful and emotional scenes of the fires faced by this team are on full display. These scenes alone are what make this film suitable, and preferable, for viewing on the big screen.
Brendan McDonough, played by Miles Teller, is trying to get his life in order. After being kicked out of his mother’s house, working to stay clean and off of drugs, he sets out to find a job. Because of his history, finding a job is much more difficult for McDonough. Luckily for him, the local handcrew was hiring. The superintendent of the crew, Eric Marsh, played by Josh Brolin, decides to take a chance and hires McDonough on the spot, despite knowing that he has a drug history and he could very well not work out. Marsh, however, sees some of himself in the new recruit, for reasons the film goes over later.
McDonough faces an uphill battle. Getting in shape, and staying clean, learning the job, and being able to earn the respect of those he now finds himself working with. It’s the first real job he’s ever had and, to his credit, he gives it his all. Marsh’s decision pays off.
Throughout the film, the audience explores the complex relationships these (soon-to-be) hotshots deal with –– with each other, their families and themselves. They are constantly training to be the best, and always working to perfect their methods. Even when others doubt their ability, they continue to work hard. Finally, the day comes and they are put to the test. The fate of the team and their reputation is on the line.
It’s an inspiring story. And, in the end, it becomes an emotional one. After finally becoming hotshots, the jobs get harder, but that was to be expected. The team is tasked to confront the Yarnell Hill Fire. The consequences will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Only the Brave is one of the best films of 2017. The cast, as a whole, is amazing and were perfectly put together to play their respective roles. You will come to love them. If you have the opportunity, see it in theaters. When it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD, buy it or rent it. It’s just that good.
This review was crossposted with The Moderate Voice