ONLY THE BRAVE is incredible. If made 20 years ago, between 1995 and 1999 (which is impossible because this true story tragedy happened in 2013), it would’ve been a massive blockbuster hit, with a lot of possible award nominations. Instead, due to this insane movie culture we have now that is obsessed with superhero films, reboots, remakes, franchises, and all that stuff, this film is more than likely going to be lost in the shuffle. But hey, there is still such a thing as being a cult classic or successful when it hits video right? Which is a shame. It is easily the best firefighter movie since Backdraft, has incredible acting and in the 90s Josh Brolin certainly would’ve been nominated for an award as well as Jennifer Connolly, and pretty fantastic special effects. I really loved this film.
Do you know why I mainly loved it? Because the film took its time. In a good way. Some films, when they take their time, tests the audiences patience, and in the end, the payoff isn’t worth the journey, and you end up being bored. Only The Brave accomplishes the rare feet of taking its time AND being incredibly entertaining. We get to know the characters very, very, very well. In fact, I would like to nominate this film as probably the best character development I have seen all year. We get to know the characters so well that, well, I won’t spoil anything but you can easily find out what happened to the Granite Mountain Hotshots if you go on Wikipedia, but suffice to say, when characters are in dangers, it stings like a motherfucker.
I was surprised to find out that this film was directed by Joseph Kosinski, who also directed Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Tron: Legacy, a cult classic to some of my friends (but I feel is highly overrated). This is easily his best film to date. The films climax doesn’t go into avoiding fire action movie territory, the climax is swift, brutal, and realistic with what was happening. All the characters seem like they truly do know and care about each other in real life. We get to know them several layers deep. It contains the best performance from Taylor Kitsch that I have seen. It also contains another Miles Teller fantastic performance as well playing a junkie that the hotshots take in.
The fire spreading and killing everything in its path in this is scary and real. Everything about it seems real. We see the firefighters actually work to take care of the fires, doing some things that I haven’t seen them do in movies. Usually its just a quick montage and everything is taken care of. Thankfully, not in this. It isn’t just about the Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013, we go back plenty of years before that and see how the team actually got certified as a team. Its engrossing from minute one. Josh Brolin and Jennifer Connolly share some scenes that any year in the 90s would’ve gotten them supporting actor and supporting actress performances.
The ending of this is so powerful, I teared up. Usually on this biographical dramas, I don’t tear up because I don’t care enough about the characters to actually feel their plight. This one I felt to my very soul, and that was all due to direction, the chemistry of the actors, and the screenplay actually taking its time to flesh everything out. If you read this review, and if you normally only see one movie a week or one every two weeks, try and put this one into your schedule. It’s incredible and I promise you it doesn’t waste your time.