Skip to content

Only the Brave: A Fantastic Film That is Full of Emotion, Depth and Solid Performances

February 28, 2018


I really wish I would’ve watched Only the Brave in the theaters. It looks amazing and under the direction of Joesph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) the $38 million budgeted movie hits above its weight and delivers a memorable gut-punch of an experience. I can’t think of the last time that I became so engrossed in a story that I knew the ending to. I love how Kosinski let the story unfold and you can feel the influence of the screenwriters Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) and Ken Nolan (Blackhawk Down) are all over the film. Only the Brave is a stirring fact-based story that features a stacked cast, lots of heart and some jaw-dropping shots.


Only The Brave tells the behind the founding, certification, and training of an elite group of firefighters called the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Founded by Eric “Supe” Marsh (James Brolin – fantastic as always) the crew became an elite collection of brave men who battled massive fires in Arizona and the surrounding states. The journey to getting a Type 1 certification (badass status) was a long and arduous process that took years but their hard work and forward-thinking leaders created a solid crew including Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale), Chris Mackenzie (Talor Kitsch) and Brendan “Donut” McDonough (Miles Teller). The catch-22 is their new certification put them on the front lines where they battled massive ground fires that were unpredictable and deadly.  Thus, everything leads to a gut-punch of an ending that feels earned because of the care it spent to make you cry like a baby.

I would’ve loved more backstory for some of the characters (because I like the actors) but I understand why the plot focuses mainly on Josh Brolin and Miles Teller’s characters. The highlight of Marsh’s story is his relationship with his wife Amanda (Jennifer Connely). The two actors have fantastic chemistry and I appreciated how Connely broke free of the stock “wife” role and was able to play Amanda as a headstrong, fierce and understanding woman who challenges her husband and can take care of herself. You won’t see any “phone wife” in her performance and Only the Brave reminded me of how awesome she was in Requiem for a Dream, Beautiful Mind, Little Children, and Dark City.

The casting of Miles Teller was very inspired and I loved his performance of a drug addict who realizes he needs to grow up when an ex-girlfriend tells him she is pregnant and doesn’t want him in her life. Teller’s performance feels naturalistic and every twitch seems organic and not like an actor throwing around fake twitches in an effort to appear like a recovering addict. Teller finds a way to underplay the role while still making him feel real. It’s the kind of performance that is so good that nobody realizes how good it is because it isn’t showy or grandiose (think of Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies).


It hurts my soul that it only made $28 million domestically because it is a crowdpleaser that features likable people and real heart. The approach to the material felt fresh and immediately after the movie I read everything I could about the making of it and how Kosinski was able to make it look so great on a smaller budget. The talent behind the camera was as stacked as the cast, and once you get into the film you will be very impressed with the CGI, camera work by cinematographer Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and editing by Billy Fox (The Crazies, Straight Outta Compton).

Only the Brave is one of my favorite films to be released in the last couple years and it is worth a watch.  I recommend you watch it and share how awesome it is to your friends.


One Comment leave one →
  1. March 10, 2018 1:09 pm

    An underrated flick for sure. Nice review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: