Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale, Jeff Bridges, Geoff Stults, Andie MacDowell, Alex Russell
Theaters in every single place October 20
As wildfires ravage the state of California, moviegoers might not be particularly excited to sit down down and watch a 130-minute reminder of how harmful and scary it may be to see fires tear throughout the panorama. However in a manner, it’s surprisingly simple not to consider present occasions throughout Solely The Courageous, and never by sheer obliviousness. Joseph Kosinski’s fact-based account of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a bunch of Arizona firefighters whose de facto battlegrounds included the devastating Yarnell Hill Hearth of 2013, is so squarely old style that it’s slightly jarring to note that most of the characters have smartphones.
The time period “hotshot” is spoken repeatedly in Solely The Courageous, and it takes some adjustment to understand it’s not a nickname or an adjective however an official designation for groups skilled to work on the entrance traces of wildfires—typically actually combating fireplace with fireplace. The film begins earlier than the Granite Mountain crew has achieved this designation—they’re “kind 2” firefighters who cling farther again—with supervisor Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) determined for the improve. Marsh is portrayed as kind of a hearth whisperer, in a position to consider the place and the way a wildfire will unfold however much less adept at speaking his standpoint with out irritating his superiors.
Marsh is healthier appreciated by his crew, together with new man Brendan “Donut” McDonough (Miles Teller, bleached blond and leaning into his capacity to look hollowed-out), first seen as a burnt-out junkie studying that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant along with his child. Attempting to form up for his new daughter, he approaches Marsh a few job, and Marsh takes an opportunity on him shortly earlier than Duane (Jeff Bridges) wrangles him one other analysis for hotshot standing. The film liberally and repeatedly skips forward in time to ensure Brendan is correctly bonded with the remainder of the sprawling crew, probably the most outstanding members in a sea of strapping white dudes being Jesse (James Badge Dale) and Travis (Geoff Stults).
The motion nominally builds to the Yarnell Hill Hearth, however Kosinski appears completely happy to bask within the male professionalism and camaraderie, even when few of the particular male professionals emerge as compelling characters. Solely The Courageous does make an effort with the possibly inventory function of Marsh’s spouse, Amanda (Jennifer Connelly), by giving her an curiosity past making or taking tearful telephone calls—she’s a rancher, and fewer deferential to her husband than could be anticipated from this kind of materials.
Though Brolin, Teller, and Connelly are compelling sufficient, the true spectacle of Solely The Courageous is watching Kosinski, who beforehand directed Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, strip away his science fiction dressings and still find an otherworldly sheen underneath, even amid all this natural beauty (and destruction). Kosinski and his returning cinematographer Claudio Miranda (who also shot Life Of Pi) are experienced in the art of digital imagery, and they capture beauty in images both relatively mundane, like a hose dangling from an initially unseen firefighting helicopter, drawing water from a swimming pool, and genuinely strange, like a recurring image of a bear charging out of a forest on fire. Even the movie’s two-character conversations are often beautifully lit and shadowed, integrating the characters into their landscapes.
Despite the lack of robots or clones, though, the gorgeous photography of a vaguely interesting but not especially grabby narrative very much brings to mind Kosinski’s previous films. All of his work so far has toyed with the balance between style and substance; as yet, the former isn’t quite developed enough to serve as the latter. At some point—at least for those unfamiliar with the true-story source material—Only The Brave becomes an exercise in waiting to see who receives a fallen hero’s tragic fate. It’s a stirring tribute, yes, to see these real-life heroes rendered in their own modern-day Howard Hawks movie, but in its final stretch, that tribute wallows in the tears and the wails of those left behind, maybe because it doesn’t have much else to do. In the face of human emotions, its craftsmanship turns workmanlike.