Belfast Telegraph

Only the Brave: Stirring account of fire heroes

Only the Brave

When the going gets tough, the tough stick together in Joseph Kosinski's flame-scorched drama, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who lost their lives as they battled a deadly 2013 wildfire in Arizona.

Inspired by a magazine article about this rough and ready, beer-chugging band of brothers, Only The Brave wears its patriotic heart on its stars and stripes-emblazoned sleeve but also contrives engaging human drama away from the inferno.

Admittedly, Kosinski's film is over-long and would benefit from some brisk cuts to a sagging middle hour before the fateful wall of flames roars towards Yarnell, north-west of Phoenix.

Impressive special effects bring the wildfires to life, but it's the ensemble cast of award-winners who turn up the heat, led by Josh Brolin as the risk-taking crew chief and Miles Teller as his self-destructive new recruit.

Superintendent Eric Marsh (Brolin) oversees the day-to-day training of municipal firefighters. With the support of fire chief Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges), Eric intends to secure 'hotshot' certification for his crew, which would allow them to advance to the front line rather than always clearing the path for other teams.

Only The Brave is a stirring account of events leading up to the crew's final stand.

We root for the firefighters, even when we know the tragic outcome of their valour, and the cast puts flesh on to the characters' weary bones as locations go up in flames around them.

Three Stars

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