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Only the Brave

The film is based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a 20-member firefighting team based out of Prescott, AZ. All but one of the team lost their lives in an Arizona fire that suddenly switched directions. The story is told primarily from the perspectives of Eric, the Supe (Josh Brolin) and Donut (Miles Teller), a new recruit with a history of drug addiction issues who joined to try to clean up his life. This is a really well-crafted movie that tells the story of their camaraderie as well as the hard and dangerous work that forward-deployed firefighters engage in to try to slow major wildfires. The acting overall is very good, and Brolin and Teller both turn in convincing performances. While I found the hyper-masculine posture and talk distracting (especially by Jeff Bridges, who seemed to be working too hard to sound like a macho man), I also grew to really like the team as they gelled and engaged different fires. I would have liked to have seen more character development of some of the other team members, and the film felt a bit too long at over two hours. But this gets solid thumbs-up for a film that is emotionally engaging and educational as well.

About Gary Burkholder

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