Joseph Kosinski directs Josh Brolin, Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly in this ‘based on a true story’ retelling of the tragic deaths of most of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters.
The forest fire sequences are immersively realised and a sense of male bonding fun is crowbarred in whenever appropriate. I say appropriate as a terminal maudlin air stifles the triumphs, adventure and inevitable tragedy that justify the project’s existence. Sadly away from the two leads, the other 17 men who died in the horrific blaze that ends the film are blank avatars, yet we spend more time looking at their real life dead counterparts tribute photos before the credits than we do seeing them brought back to life onscreen by anything resembling noteworthy acting or decent screen-craft. It is a sad indictment of this constantly misguided heart on it sleeve worthiness that I wished we could have spent the whole running time with Jennifer Connelly’s flinty wife at her stray horse restoration stables, than we did leaping into hell and risking lives to save lives. Well meaning but forgettable.