#REVIEW: “ONLY THE BRAVE”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Most heroes go unnoticed. Only so many stories are written. Only so many films are made. The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots is an important one, and Only the Brave tells it cinematically.
Director Joseph Kosinski does a good job balancing the beauty of ILMs effects with the performances of his leading men, and woman. Josh Brolin plays Eric Marsh, a bullheaded man from North Carolina who feels the call to fight fires in Arizona. There he marries Amanda, played by the Jennifer Connelly. While Amanda rescues horses, Eric strives to develop an elite crew of firefighters. One worthy of the funding, trust, and title of “Hotshots.”
He succeeds, and enlists men like Christopher MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch), and Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) to be a part of that team. Over time these once troubled boys become brave men who travel the West fighting fires in its mountain ranges. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s a tragic one as well. This is expressed best by the actors. Brolin and Connelly shine brightly, and are given considerable room to perform. The boys also do well at winning one’s attention, interest, and empathy. Especially during one dry summer in Yarnell, Arizona, when the brotherhood is challenged by a small but growing blaze.
The Hotshots’ efforts are captured brilliantly. The Western Mountains are put on display thanks to the Cinematography, and burn furiously via the effects of Industrial Light and Magic. Though the scenes unfold in odd ways at time, their story is coherent… and deeply-moving. What these real life men went through, and what they fought against, is beyond comprehension. However, it is something easily honored, and Only the Brave adds to the respect people have for the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Keep your eye out for great supporting work from Jeff Bridges and Andie Macdowell. Also, be sure to bring a tissue or two. It’s an emotional story, but it’s one worthy of being told, honored, and remembered.
Sony Pictures Canada release ONLY THE BRAVE Friday, October 20, 2017.