The Prescott Fire Department was founded in 1885, in fact it is the oldest fire department in the entire state of Arizona. In 2008, the men of this particular crew achieved a rare distinction. The department was granted the distinguished honor of doing something no one before them had done, they became the first Type 1 Interagency Hotshot Crew managed by a municipal fire department. While this was a great honor, it is not the sole reason that the story of the famed Granite Mountain Hotshots was made into a movie. Only the Brave will tell a story that most will only vaguely remember, and yet, it’ll be an experience audiences won’t soon forget.
There’s no doubt that our firefighters play an invaluable role in our safety. That being said, when these men are the last line of defense between a raging wildfire and virtually helpless communities, everyone needs to understand and appreciate their bravery. Eric Shane Marsh (Josh Brolin) is a dedicated firefighter in the city of Prescott, AZ. He is the supervisor of a team that throws caution to the wind in a blink of an eye. Marsh has his eye on more responsibilities for his team, and the best way to go about getting what he wants is to be recognized as the best of the best. An interagency hotshot crew consists of 20 elite crew members who act as the front line of defense in cases of potentially dangerous wildfires. With a solid team intact, Marsh looks to become certified as one of these hotshots crews.
Only the Brave is one of the truly great firefighter movies in recent memory. Wildfires versus structure fires is an entirely different animal due to its sheer size as well as its unpredictability. The story alone is enough to give this movie high marks. The story will suck you in and never let go. Aside from that, the casting, and subsequent acting, should also be considered top notch. James Brolin, Jeff Bridges and Miles Teller are simply fantastic. Their emotion shines as bright as largest fire you could ever imagine. There is not a single area of weakness in this embarrassment of talent. The list goes on and on from top to bottom. Audiences will quickly identify and relate with these individuals, thus giving the movie a greater emotional grip on your feelings.
The scenery is breathtaking and fires, although destructive as hell, are beautiful (and terrifying) displays that need to be fully taken in on the big screen. And there’s more to Only the Brave than just fighting wildfires. There is a definite dedication to taking the time to get to know the human side of these people. You’ll learn about their families, friendships and their motivation to do what they do. This is a very well done and thorough movie without needing to take three hours to do so (although the runtime sits at about 133 minutes). The relationships between Brolin and Teller, along with their private life relationships (thanks to Jennifer Connelly and Natalie Hall) will help in giving a layered view into what firefighter life is like both in the forest and back at home.
Only the Brave chronicles the amazing true story of what the Granite Mountain Hotshots were willing to sacrifice in the line of duty. Their bravery and unwavering dedication to their job deserves to be recognized and director Joseph Kosinski gives a breathtaking look at what made these individuals so special. As far as firefighter movies go, you couldn’t ask for more. I cannot think of one single reason NOT to experience this amazing true story in theaters. See it today.