First, let me get my personal bias out of the way. I have lived in Prescott, Arizona since 2006, and while in 2014 have started college in Flagstaff, I still visit my family and friends living there. I was there when the Granite Mountain Hotshots gave their lives to save first the town of Prescott (with the tree), the surronding area and later save Yarnell. I knew some of these firefigthers, not very well, but had many friends who did and one of my family friends was the man who was played by Jeff Bridges, though not the same name. I have some close ties to this movie and the events taken place. I remember seeing the fire for my house and the next day when the Yarnell fire started hearing about the 19 Hotshots. I remember the funerals a week later when now former Vice President Joe Biden came to town and spoke. I remember on the 1 year anniversary going to my friends church to play in a tribute concert for the Hotshots and meeting Andrew Ashcrafts' wife, Juliann. I've hiked to the tree that the Hotshots saved. I have driven through the town Yarnell countless of times on the way to California, and have been to many memorial sites. I have been to the Hotshot headquarters and hiked on some of the trails this film shows and have lived in that town. Needless to say this is a very personal movie. Though my rating is on the movie alone and I tried to keep personal bias out.
This movie obviously made me cry! While the depections of what happened aren't 100%, some of the shots of the town, mostly Matt's Salon which is real but is definetly not on a street corner, are not shot in town. Yet it still does a great job a forming these characters, especially Eric Marsh and Brendan McDonough. All performances are great and some of the shots are breathtaken. Just the grim and the dirt on the hotshots as they work makes it all feel real. And shots of the crew standing in a line are very strong and stunning. Overall, personal bias aside, the film is great, but could be better! I will be clear that the film is an 8/10, but the people that it portrays are 10/10 and are heros in every sense of the word. Without them mine and many others lives would have been flipped upside down without their sacrifice and the work of so many other firefighters who work day in and day out to put our these fires. Only The Brave