ONLY THE BRAVE (12)
D: Joseph Kosinski
Columbia/Black Label/Conde Nast (Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill, Michael Menchel, Dawn Ostroff, Molly Smith & Jeremy Steckler)
W: Ken Nolan & Eric Warren Singer [based on the GQ article "No Exit" by Sean Flynn]
DP: Claudio Miranda
Ed: Billy Fox
Mus: Joseph Trapanese
Josh Brolin (Eric Marsh), Miles Teller (Brendan McDonough), James Badge Dale (Jesse Steed), Taylor Kitsch (Chris McKenzie), Jennifer Connelly (Amanda Marsh), Jeff Bridges (Duane Steinbrink), Andie MacDowell (Marvel Steinbrink), Natalie Hall (Natalie Johnson)
Quite often, when a film is based on true events, it can do a disservice to those who are portrayed, rather than pay tribute. This is not the case with Only The Brave, which tells the story of The Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group of firefighters from Arizona who are on the front line of forest fire defence.
Headed by veteran firefighter Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), the film begins with the training for full accreditation of the team members, who think their chances are in jeopardy when rebellious junkie Brendan McDonough joins their ranks, hoping for a better life so he can bring up his newborn daughter so she can have the best chances in life.
The first hour focuses heavily on character development and the relationship of trust between the men, before they finally get their chance to prove themselves and subsequently become town heroes when they fend off the Yarnell Hill Fire, a destructive wildfire which came very close to taking an entire town in the summer of 2013.
The film does have some moments which are predictable, and could be easily summarised as Backdraft meets Top Gun, but it's really much more than that.
Unfortunately, Only The Brave was only given a limited release in the UK, without much marketing to give it appeal, but, for me, this is amongst the best films of 2017, boasting solid performances, breathtaking cinematography and astonishing visual effects. An absolute must watch.