Only the Brave: A Heroic Firefighting Tale

"Supe" Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) berates Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) during training in Prescott National Forest in Columbia Pictures' ONLY THE BRAVE.

Only the Brave tells the powerful and true story of the heroic Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski from a screenplay written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, the film stars Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, with Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly. It was based on the GQ Article “No Exit” written by Sean Flynn.  Josh Hopkins makes a quick cameo in the film.

When most of us would run away from a fire, the Granite Mountain Hotshots were the firefighting crew that would drop what they were doing to attack the fires.  This is a crew that become one of the best team of hotshots in the country and if you didn’t hear of their story going into the film, you certainly will hear more of it after this weekend.  The film climaxes with the Yarnell Hill Fire that took place in June 2013 as the team battles the fire under the leadership of Eric “Supe” Marsh (Brolin).

Before Granite Mountain came about, there were no local firefighting crews who earned the mantle of Hotshots.  Think of the hotshots as being the Navy SEALs of firefighting and it will show you the importance of what firefighting means to this group of people.  This is a group of 20 men who have to share that bond of brotherhood and work together.  If they don’t, the team fails.

The character growth of Brendan McDonough (Teller) is vital to the film, not just in plot but to the team of hotshots.  At first glance, he’s just another drug addict bum but then when he learns some really big news, he starts to change his ways in order to become a better person.  Getting kicked out of his parents’ house did him no favors either.  In watching the film, you don’t want him to fail.  You want to see him become a better person.

“In an age of superheroes, Only the Brave is a film about real heroes,” director Joseph Kosinski says.  “It explores notions of brotherhood, sacrifice, redemption, all set in the world of wildfire – something I haven’t seen in the cinema before.  It’s a story that needs to be told and a world that should be seen on a big screen.”

Kosinski has given us a film telling a story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  It’s no superhero movie but it’s likely the best new release that film goers will be seeing over the weekend (Geostorm wasn’t screened for critics).

Columbia Pictures opened Only The Brave in theaters on Friday, October 20, 2017.


Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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