True stories are the one thing throughout the film industry that can't be known as being a dime a dozen because it seems as though almost half of the films nowadays are based on true events. Of that half, I'd say only about half of those stories are done with complete justice and care. So, it's really a toss-up when going into a film like this. With that said, Only the Brave is a fantastic presentation of these events and the men who risked their lives on a daily basis. Although it may feel a little slow at times, here is why I believe this is a film that's pretty much for everyone.
A Great Cast Of Characters
When you're trying to tell a possibly tragic story about people that may or may not have to give their lives in the wake of danger, it really does require some powerful and devoted performances in order to get the audience to emotionally respond to the events unfolding on-screen. From Josh Brolin to Miles Teller, to even Taylor Kitsch and Jennifer Connelly, I honestly thought this ensemble was one of the best of the entire year, with the standouts obviously being Brolin and Teller. Each and every one of the supporting roles gave their very best as well, making this a very believable and realistic team.
The premise of this film is relatively simple. A crew of firefighters is out to become the next crew of "Hot Shots," and they will do whatever it takes, which also entails hiring some fresh and willing talent. The film dives into their lives outside of work and really invests you in each one of their jobs. I was quite riveted throughout each one of the fires, and I loved how it didn't take it too seriously to the point of depression. With a nice blend of bickering and action, these characters were more fleshed out and likable than I was expecting them to be, which really added a level of intensity to the overall movie.
It really is the fact that this film has a terrific cast that really makes you feel for them when the climax occurs in the third act. I was not familiar with the events that occurred in real life, so I wasn't sure what to expect from the finale of this film. Although I feel there are some abrupt aspects about it, I feel as though it was handled with care and respected the families involved in the actual events. The final act of this movie is surprising in multiple ways and it did have me shedding a few tears by the time the credits started to roll.
My Overall Thoughts
In the end, Only the Brave is definitely a slow watch at times and its run time is slightly longer than the material needs it to be, but when it's slow it also takes its time to emotionally invest you in its characters, so it's sort of a catch-22. With terrific performances all around, direction that seems to be inspired, and sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat, this is a very well-made a memorable film that I can confidently say will be one of my favorites of this year. This movie is well-made in every regard and I highly recommend it to everyone.