Only The Brave – Blu-ray Review

Only The Brave is a 2017 American biographical action drama film that was directed by Joseph Kosinsky and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer, and is based on the GQ article titled “No Exit” by Sean Flynn. The film tells the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew of firefighters who fought the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013, and is dedicated in their memory. It features an ensemble cast that includes Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale, Jennifer Connelly, Alex Russell, and Ben Hardy.

Principal photography for the film began in New Mexico in June 2016, and the film was released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on October 20, 2017. It received positive reviews from film critics, with praise aimed at the cast and the film’s touching tribute to its subjects. According to the review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 88% based on the 138 reviews that were submitted, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The sites critical consensus reads that “Only The Brave‘s impressive veteran cast and affecting fact-based story add up to a no-frills drama that’s just as powerful as the real-life heroes that it honors.”

The Film Itself (5/5):

Holy cow, Only The Brave was an insane and emotional ride from beginning to end.  The story that we’re given with this film is one that reflects the true events that occurred in early summer 2013 and features a crew of elite firefighters that, as they tell their story, allows you to fall in love with them.  As you sit there and experience their story together, you can’t help but feel an appreciation for the work that people who do this kind of stuff day to day as they continue to risk their lives.  The amount of comradery that’s shared among those in this particular storyline lets you see and understand the included family element that comes with being a part of a team like this.  As the film progresses, you see and understand the amount of hard work that people like this go through to get into a field like this, and the efforts that they go through to not only help protect the lives of those within a given community, but the work that goes into protecting various natural elements from being destroyed by the dangerous wildfires.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Presented in 1080p, Only The Brave looked really great as it played out across my living room television.  Offering a considerably clean and clear view into the grit and exhausting efforts of these firefighters, my wife and I were in complete awe at the amount of blood, sweat and tears that this crew shared as they worked to fight these fires together.  Two particular sequences that played out that really stuck with me from this movie was those that involved the closeup shots of the wildfires and the one that included the close up experience of the large plane dropping a load of water to help put out some of the fires.  The close up shots that included the ravaging blaze really did a fantastic job at relaying the overall amount of danger that these men put themselves in, while the ones involving the close up shots of water being dropped also threw in an added element of danger as they are considerably at risk of being hit by this massive amount of water that would kill them instantly.

Audio Quality (4/5):

While Only The Brave comes packaged with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, I would have absolutely loved that it be packaged with either a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X track.  The included audio does everything that it can within its power to offer an immersive experience that sounds absolutely beautiful as it rips through home theater systems; but, I feel that it would have been significantly more effective had the included these additional elements.  The included audio is clean and clear and offers no distortion to the experience at all, and the included dialogue is presented cleanly enough that it didn’t require having to manually adjust the volume levels at all.

The Packaging (3/5):

Only The Brave comes packaged in your standard single-disc Blu-ray amaray case.  Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy. The disc does feature a piece of artwork that’s relative to the film and different than that of the case art.  There is no DVD copy of the film included with this release.  A digital copy redemption pamphlet has been included to allow you to add the film to your cloud account as well as a slipcover that’s been included during the initial release of this film.  The slipcover features the same piece of artwork that is featured on the case art.


Special Features (5/5):

The Blu-ray release of Only The Brave comes packaged with just a few special features that allows you to not only explore the characters of the film or their story further, but the work that went into making the film happen as well as allowing for an expanded look on the real events that unfolded in 2013.  The content that is provided is deeply inclusive and really should be checked out if you have decided to pick this movie up for your collection.  Included with this release is:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Feature Audio Commentary With Director Joseph Kosinski and Josh Brolin
  • Honoring The Heroes: The True Stories
  • Behind The Brotherhood: The Characters
  • Boot Camp: Becoming A Hotshot
  • Dierks Bentley Featuring S. Carey “Hold The Light” Music Video and Featurette

Technical Specs:


Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1


English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1

Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Original Film: 134 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I am really glad that I decided to pick up Only The Brave for my collection.  After having seen bits and pieces of the promotional materials that had come out during its theatrical run, I knew that this was one that I needed to see.  The story that we’re given with this movie is one that will touch your heart as you gain a true appreciation for the dangers that these men put themselves through for the overall protection of those around them.  Hell, as my wife and I were watching this movie last night, all she could say was “I feel like something bad is about to happen” … and when that moment hits, it has a huge impact.  The visual and audible presentation of the Blu-ray release was nicely done, however it does irk me that they had originally planned to also do a 4K UHD release, and I feel that this movie would have significantly benefited from the utilization of HDR.  If you’re considering grabbing this release for your collection, I would absolutely recommend it.  Only The Brave came out onto Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.