Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The Granite Mountain Hot Shots

A tale of true heroism

 

By Cheryl Bauder Staff Writer

“Only the Brave,” featuring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, and Jeff Bridges, premiered on Oct. 14th. Considering that the last Joseph Kosinksi film I saw was “Oblivion,” I was pleasantly surprised.

“Only the Brave” tells the story of the team of Type 1, or “Hotshot,” firefighters who were the first municipal Type 2 team to achieve Type 1 status. In the opening scene, Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) leads his Type 2 team in a wildfire. He makes a call that gets ignored because he isn’t a Hotshot, and the situation worsens. At first, it feels like the film will be a generic underdog story, but its plot has more emotion and depth to its characters.

Most similar movie plots have just one instance of the team working together in perfect unison before getting to the climatic event of a disaster getting out of hand, and some movies jump straight into the action. “Only the Brave” shows the team fighting multiple fires, demonstrating their ability to skillfully manage the flames. Along with strong character development, the film establishes a special bond between the firefighters, their families and the audience. It paces out its tale with various examples of the men’s capabilities. While most movies in this genre tend to treat the climax as the sole instance of devastation, “Only the Brave” builds the audience’s confidence in the team instead, which later turns into true heartbreak.

More than an underdog story, it is a heroic tragedy. In the end, I was so convinced of the team’s preparedness and had such confidence in their abilities that the finale destroyed me more than any typical underdog film, or even any tragedy, ever has. Assisted by the many reviews and articles written since its premiere, “Only the Brave” has truly given the men lost in the Yarnell Hill fire a compelling and respectful memorial.