Man, do these forest fires keep happening, or what? I keep seeing them on the news and on the internet. It’s sickening. What you expect from a heroic drama about firefighters battling these forest fires are heart, humor, emotions, and a great cast. And “Only the Brave” has those qualities.
It’s based on the true story about how firefighters battled the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona of 2013. The movie is dedicated to those heroes, and before we get to the horrific event, we meet some of these men.
Josh Brolin leads the cast as Eric Marsh, a supervisor, looking for a new crew, known as “The Granite Mountain Hot Shots.” He has to whip his team into shape in order to fight fire with fire.
Meanwhile, Eric begins arguing with his loving wife (Jennifer Connolly) about starting a family. They made a promise years ago about not doing so, but only she has reconsidered.
Miles Teller plays Brendan, a stoner, who’s made one mistake after another, and finds out he conceived a child with a girl he broke up with. He is willing to redeem himself by joining Eric’s crew. He also earns a friendship with both Eric and an enemy-turned friend named Chris (Taylor Kitsch).
Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, and Jennifer Connolly all have gotten star-billing, but they aren’t here because the posters told them to; they’re here to craft likable characters. This movie warms us up with the firefighters’ jobs and personal issues before the Yarnell Hill Fire occurs, and it closes very emotionally.
There are some elements to the story I didn’t really get, and I’m not familiar with this particular fire, so I can’t say what is or what isn’t accurate. But what I can say is that director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy,” “Oblivion”) and writers Ken Nolan (“Black Hawk Down”) and Eric Warren Singer (“American Hustle”) have all done a swell job balancing heroism with emotions and heart.