‘Only The Brave’
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell
4 (Out Of 5) Globes
Plot: Based on the crew of firefighters that battled the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona in June, 2013, Joseph Kosinski’s biographical action drama is set over a few years and delves into the build-up and backstory of those involved. Leading the group is Josh Brolin’s Eric “Supe” Marsh, whose wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly) is seen as the matriarch of the group, while slacker Brendan “Donut” McDonough (Miles Teller) signs up and looks to prove himself after the birth of his daughter. Over the course of a few months the ragtag group of firefighters prove themselves, which leads to them being called upon to tackle more and more fires that are increasingly dangerous.
Review: 95% of you will already know what happens at the end of “Only The Brave.” Not necessarily because you’ll have heard of 2013’s Yarnell Hill Fire. Or read Sean Flynn’s GQ article No Exit that the film is based upon. It’s just that when a biopic disaster film of this ilk is made it is hard not to think the worst. “Only The Brave” doesn’t try to be overthink or complicate the story, though. Instead it leans into its conclusion, amping up the cheese and melodrama, all of which makes the film that much more impactful. As well as tear-inducing. The dramatic beats, emotional cues and swelling of the music might be immediately recognizable, but it doesn’t become overbearing or corny due to the film’s truly terrific ensemble cast. One specific actor doesn’t deserve to be singled out for praise, instead “Only The Brave” works so well because the entire collective treat the material with a palpable reverence that lifts the film and makes it all the more emotional and powerful. At the same time Joseph Kosinski is able to go into detail about the seldom-seen world of containing wildfires, which is inherently cinematic, doing so while building the tension, danger, and spectacle that keeps on pulling you in. Kosinski knows exactly when to take a step-back and let the acting and drama do the work, too. All of which means that, even though “Only The Brave” might not be the most originally constructed, it is done so in such a compassionate and emphatic manner that you can’t help but be moved and impressed.