So … after a huge amount of work I’ve finally found some time to tell you about a couple of great movies I’ve seen lately. First up Only The Brave. When I heard it was a movie about fire I wasn’t too sure. My companion made some politically incorrect statement about shirts, or the lack there of, and somehow we managed to find some time. I’m so pleased we did, Only The Brave is one of the most moving films I’ve seen in a long time even more so considering it’s based on a true story.
Set in Arizona in 2007, Only The Brave begins with troupe leader Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) becoming more and more frustrated when visiting Hotshot crews overrule his local knowledge time and time again. Not happy he decides to train up his own team in the hope of becoming Hotshots, the men on the front line of firefighting.
A good amount of the movie focuses on the training and necessary mateship developing within the team, particularly young recruit Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) who is clearly running from his past.
Eventually the team is given the opportunity they’ve been dreaming of thanks to the Mayor (played by the wonderful Jeff Bridges). And so the Granite Mountain Hotshots are born.
By 2013 they are a well known, respected team, and so when the Yarnell Hill Fire strikes they are called on to clear and back burn the area.
Throughout the movie we witness the team practicing a certain safety drill using plastic tarps. With a 5-4-3-2-1 countdown each man falls to the ground and covers himself with the tarp. The importance of this exercise is only realized at the end of the film when the real test comes and the plastic tarps are replaced with fire retardant sheets.
I won’t spoil the ending, but anyone who followed the true story will know what happened.
As I sat watching the images of the real men from the Granite Mountain Hotshots roll through the credits I pondered:
- Although slow in some parts the end is well worth the journey;
- The cinematography was exquisite, especially the delicately dancing embers raining down and a firy bear;
- The sound track had my toes tapping;
- It’s not often an audience sits in stunned silence at the end. Even less rare is an audience walking out in complete silence;
- Only The Brave is an incredibly moving story beautifully told in this movie;
- Brolin, Bridges and particularly McDonough do the men from Granite Mountain proud.
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