Fair warning – if you go see Only the Brave, you’re going to need some tissues.
The incredibly moving film by Joseph Kosinski tells the tragic real-life tale of an Arizona fire crew who brave the frontline in the notoriously tricky fire season.
In the vein of Peter Berg films Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor, there’s nothing flashy or over-the-top about Only the Brave – it’s a simple, heart-wrenching story about incredibly courageous people told with impeccable control and restraint.
The true story is easily found on Google, but it won’t be spoiled here.
The movie follows the firefighters in their bid to become accredited ‘Hotshots’, which allows them to get up close and battle the flames from the centre of the action.
Josh Brolin (Labor Day) leads the crew as Superintendent Eric Marsh.
The rag-tag group of firies include James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3), Taylor Kitsch (Savages), Alex Russell (Chronicle), Geoff Stults (J Edgar) and Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse).
But it’s new recruit Brendan ‘Donut’ McDonough, played by the ever-impressive Miles Teller (Whiplash), who really captures the audience’s attention.
McDonough goes through the biggest journey of anyone in the film, starting out as an irresponsible drug addict and working his way to a brave, admirable firefighter.
Only the Brave is a touch on the longish side, which can be a little grating in the first two-thirds of the film.
But it’s only once you reach the end you realise just why you spend so much time with these characters, building to this one, gut-wrenching moment.
Even if you know it’s coming, nothing can prepare you for the emotional punch the end of the film delivers.
It’s immediate, impactful and somewhat indescribable.
It’s actually difficult to watch the last 15 or so minutes, but it is worth it.
It’s very rare that a film can deliver such a deep, personal response from its viewers without being the slightest bit sappy or preachy, but it’s something that Only the Brave manages to achieve in spades.
If you’re prepared to shed more than a few tears, do yourself a favour and see Only the Brave. You won’t regret it.