|Directed by||:||Joseph Kosinski||Produced by||:||Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill||Starring||:||Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale||Production company||:||Di Bonaventura Pictures, Condé Nast Entertainment||Country||:||United States|
Only the Brave review – Jeff Bridges firefighter drama only just heats up
Only the Brave is the latest from Joseph Kosinski, the architect turned director behind such emotionally closed yet visually stunning films as Tron: Legacy and Oblivion. It’s about firefighters in the American south-west, and this may lead you to think this will be a movie with flat characters but loads of thrilling special effects. It’s actually a bit of the reverse.
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This isn’t to imply the sequences of mighty conflagrations aren’t heart-pounding, it’s just that there are fewer than you might expect. Furthermore, the “hangin’ out” sequences with the Granite Mountain Hotshots don’t exactly feel cut from a Richard Linklater film, but it’s in a similar ballpark. This unpredictable quality to Only the Brave ends up being its greatest strength.
A point of comparison would be the 1970 film Airport, which, thanks to its many sequels, suggest wall-to-wall disaster tension to those who haven’t seen it. It’s really more of a procedural film – “What’s it like to work at an airport?” – with political dealings, romantic woes, a comic side plot and finally some explosives thrown in at the end. Only the Brave follows the same pattern (“What’s it like to be an elite wildfire squad?”) and only if you know that it’s based on a true story do you realise it isn’t going to end so well.