Only the Brave

Screenwriters Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer adapted a GQ article for this actioner about a group of Arizona firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, nearly all of whom perished while battling a wildfire in 2013. The film follows them over a few years prior to the tragic event, focusing on their paternal superintendent (Josh Brolin) and a former drug addict (Miles Teller) who straightens out his life after joining the team. Nolan and Singer create sympathetic portraits of these two, but the other characters are defined chiefly by macho posturing. Except for the supervisor’s wife (Jennifer Connelly), the women characters serve mainly as trophies for heroic behavior or as sexual betrayers. Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) makes effective use of the wide-screen frame (particularly in capturing the Arizona vistas), though he fails to build on any of the script’s straightforward themes.