Rated: PG-13 for thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material. Reviewed by: Gerry Release date: October 20, 2017 Released by: Sony Pictures
Only the Brave struck me as a pretty good film in the first few scenes. The Prescott, Arizona fire department had developed a special team to manage fires that threaten huge areas of untamed wilderness. Early on in the film this unit is forced to back away from using their skills, by an elite unit of firefighters called "hotshots". The Prescott group then trains even harder and finally gains approval from federal authorities and is elevated to hotshot status on their own. They show very well in their first encounter, and are praised and touted as heroes by everyone in Prescott.
Under-lying this story is the status of the Prescott team leader Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin). He is smart, well trained, and ambitious for his group. He is also a charismatic leader. His team of about twenty young firefighters is and thirsty for respect and accomplishment on their own. Into this rising team appears a rookie appears to fill one vacancy. This newcomer is a recovering drug user, yet he passes all the physical and emotional trials and is finally accepted as a full member of the team. The rookie, Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) loves his new status and is pleased by the changes that have occurred as a result of his new position. He and Marsh form a kind of mentor/rookie relationship that both seem to struggle with, yet both take pride in. When a supposedly routine fire turns dangerous the whole team is used to deal with it due to their newly elevated status. The elements conspire to threaten the entire group and the climatic scenes are very intense.
Excellent acting performances are are made by both Brolin and Teller. They both are at the heart of the movie. Very nice turns should be credited to Amanda Marsh (Jennifer Connelly) and also to Jeff Bridges. They both shine, but in minor roles. It is based on a real Wildlife fire near Prescott Arizona. I found it to be very moving. The team spirit and cooperative nature of the young firefighters kept me hoping for a happy conclusion. I recommend the film strongly.
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