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Film Review: 'Only The Brave' Captures True Heroism, Selflessness

by Todd A. Smith


(L-R) Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) and Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch) plan to do the back burn at the Chiricahua Mountain fire line in “Only the Brave” (Photo Credit: Richard Foreman/Sony Pictures Entertainment).



Fighting Fire with Fire 


The word hero often gets thrown around too flippantly these days.

People who have done one good deed in their entire lives get called heroes so much that true heroism often goes under-appreciated.

Soldiers, most police officers, firefighters and many community activists have to be heroic everyday in their lines of work.

And firefighters like the hotshots have some of the most dangerous jobs on the planet and those hotshots do their jobs willingly to protect their community and the communities around them.

Hotshot jobs are truly only for the brave, and that heroism and selflessness is captured effectively in the film “Only the Brave.”

And while “Only the Brave” takes the scenic route in getting down to the nitty gritty of the film, the film does a good job of humanizing those who lost their lives tragically working for the Granite Mountain Hotshots and trying to protect a historic town from a horrendous fire.

In “Only the Brave,” Brendan McDonough aka Donut cannot get right.

Even though he has a baby on the way with his ex-girlfriend Natalie Johnson (Natalie Hall), he still dabbles in crack cocaine and petty crime.

Donut’s life is so out of control that his baby mama does not want him to have anything to do with his new baby.

She is convinced that the baby will fare better being raised in a single parent home with help from the child’s grandmother.

Donut’s only way to make a better life for himself and prove that he is a capable father is to join the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

On the other hand, while Donut struggles with a crack cocaine addiction, the head of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, Eric Marsh or Supe (Josh Brolin) is addicted to his firefighting job to the detriment of his marriage.

Marsh’s wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly) desperately wants children, but is frustrated that her husband is more committed to his job than a future family.

Finally, Christopher MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch) is the playboy of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.  But when he meets a young nurse his life finally seems complete.

However, in “Only the Brave” when the Granite Mountain Hotshots are called in to stop the Yarnell Hill Fire after a lightning strike their lives are turned upside down forever.

“Only the Brave” can only be criticized because of the fact that the backstories of the characters are drawn out a little more than should and not enough time is placed on how the families of the Hotshots coped with their tragic losses.

However, “Only the Brave” boasts good acting performances as to be expected with award winning actors like Brolin, Connelly and Jeff Bridges who plays Duane Steinbrink.

Despite the award winning thespians, Teller is beginning to etch his place as one of the top young acting talents in Hollywood in the 21st century.

Likewise, Kitsch brings a country Tim Riggins in “Friday Night Lights” swagger to his role as Christopher.

Furthermore, the visuals in “Only the Brave” are on fire, literally.

Although wildfires are obviously devastating and should not be taken lightly, those wildfires were captured exquisitely in the film.

And once moviegoers witness how intimidating those fires can truly be, hero will not be a big enough adjective to describe the hotshots of Granite Mountain.







This article was published on Friday 20 October, 2017.
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