Miles Teller turned down La La Land for this?COLUMBIA PICTURES

Only the Brave tells a story which deserves to be told. Unfortunately, it does so very badly.

“Only Taylor Kitsch was truly distinguishable, and that was because he was Taylor Kitsch”

After twenty minutes or so of essentially worthless introduction, the film provides reason for optimism with some suitably intense scenes of wildland firefighter training, and a fine sequence in which Josh Brolin, adrenaline coursing through his system, makes a call to burn down some trees against the advice of an experienced observer, and in the process saves the day. Thereafter, however, there is not all that much actual firefighting, and rather too much Miles Teller.

Teller theoretically plays a lowlife crack dealer coming good, but comes across far more as a preening Hollywood actor silently cursing the fact that he threw away the chance to star in La La Land. The rest of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, meanwhile, were bland to the point that only Taylor Kitsch was truly distinguishable, and that was because he was Taylor Kitsch, not because his character was of any interest.

Trailer for Only the BraveYOUTUBE

Jeff Bridges, meanwhile, spent much of his time on screen pulling a silly grin which seemed to be inviting a slip, and Andie MacDowell appeared to have been hired as an extra, constantly turning up in the background of scenes yet never being permitted to demonstrate her considerable ability as an actress.


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The plotting was basic to the point of insult, and the dialogue veered from the risible to the banal. Occasionally the banter exchanged by the Hotshots induced a snigger, but more often than not it induced a cringe. There was a cracking shot of a helicopter sucking up water from a swimming pool, and a very nice overhead one of a firefighting crew trekking through the ash which was all that remained of a once-mighty forest. Between these, alas, came many scenes of generic domestic strife which would have been distinctly tedious had they consumed ten minutes of the film, let alone an hour or more.

There was a scene shortly before the film’s conclusion which was undeniably moving, despite the best efforts of the clunky script to give away the fate of Brolin’s character (twice). One was left reflecting, however, how much more of an impact the ending would have made had even a jot of sympathy for any of the characters been established.

They do not make all that many films like Only the Brave any more. For good reason

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