Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale, Alex Russell, Andie MacDowell

Classification: M (Coarse Language)

Review by Peter Gray

Originating from a worthy GQ article, ‘Only The Brave’, despite its obvious commercial temperament and emotional manipulation, is a surprisingly grounded and compelling action-drama that benefits from its A-list cast and their dedicated performances.

A true story revolving around the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting crew dedicated to eliminating wildfires across the United States, director Joseph Kosinski has foregone the usual visual flare he so confidently displayed in such features as ‘Tron: Legacy’ and ‘Oblivion’ and has let Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer’s script bare the heavy lifting.

Led by the grizzled Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), the earlier moments of the film lay the relationship-focused foundation that ultimately carries the film. Marsh is well respected by his motley crew, but his home life with headstrong wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly, in one of the strongest parts she’s been afforded as of late) is where he’s more vehemently challenged as the pressures of the job have strained their evidently passionate marriage.

Searching for recruits to join his team, Eric’s decision to take a chance on recovering drug addict Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) irks the established dynamic between the existing members, namely Eric’s right-hand Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale) and long-serving Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch), a wise-cracking womaniser of sorts who tests Brendan’s dedication to the Hotshots in a bid to maintain his road to recovery; Jeff Bridges rounds out the impressive ensemble with a suitably mumbly but likeable turn as Eric’s father-like mentor.

If you’re unfamiliar with the ‘No Exit’-titled GQ article the film is based on, any research is best voided as much of the film’s enjoyment and ultimate outcome is more impactful for those unversed in this story. Similar to Peter Berg’s disaster oil-rig drama ‘Deepwater Horizon’, but perhaps less documentary-like in its approach, Kosinski’s effective relationship-heavy actioner is a fine slice of quality entertainment thats less-than-stellar Box Office response overseas is not indicative of its quality – this is rousing fare detailing a heartbreaking story that deserves to be relayed.

My rating: 4/5

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