Movie Review: Only The Brave is a worthy celebration of heroes
With wildfires still raging across northern California, killing at least 40 people and razing thousands of homes, the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots could not be more timely and pertinent.
Only The Brave is based on a true story, which means that if you had followed the exploits of the Granite Mountain Hotshots during the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, you will know how the movie is going to end.
The movie celebrates the lives and sacrifices of the 20 courageous firemen who put themselves in harm's way to protect everybody else.
They were not heroes but ordinary folks with their fair share of troubles, so kudos to director Joseph Kosinski - departing from his sci-fi roots of Tron: Legacy (2010) and Oblivion (2013) - for not giving this tale a Hollywood sheen.
Hotshot crews are firefighters who have been specifically trained to respond to fires in remote regions with little or no logistical support - they are kind of like the special forces in the military.
Led by local fire chief Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), the movie starts with him training his team to achieve "hotshot" status. It includes whipping recovering drug addict Brendan "Donut" McDonough (Miles Teller) into shape.
The movie devotes much time to the bonding among the men, which only means that the finale is even more devastating.
The performances are noteworthy, but what really stands out are the fires, majestic and horrifying at the same time.
Only The Brave may not be ground-breaking, but the heroics of the Granite Mountain Hotshots deserve more than a standing ovation. The movie is a fitting tribute indeed.
MOVIE: Only The Brave
STARRING: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly
DIRECTOR: Joseph Kosinski
THE SKINNY: Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the movie follows a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.
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