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White Squall
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Reviews & Ratings for
White Squall More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Sob story

Author: Catti from Sweden
8 September 2001

This movie was based on true events that must have been horrifying and very traumatic for those involved. Unfortunately, like so many times before, Hollywood has turned it into a stereotypical and predictable sob story. They could have done so much more of this amazing story.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Life, Death and growing up at Sea.

8/10
Author: MadBadMovieman from Surprise, AZ
25 November 1999

An under-rated movie. An excellent cast. An amazing story of one way for young men to grow and mature- if you survive. One of the best adaptations of a true story I have ever seen. Very emotional to watch the Squall and the final Court scenes. It made me research the story after seeing it. Would not hesitate to see it again.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Under-rated Movie

Author: Al from United States
27 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The fact that this is based on a true story makes it all the more amazing. This character driven piece is extremely poignant and well-done from the technical aspects of the cinematography and special effects to the excellent direction and ensemble acting by the whole cast.

The ever talented Jeff Bridges, who amazingly gets better as he gets older, is terrific in an intensely contained role as Captain Christopher "Skipper" Sheldon. Virtually all the young actors are terrific and offer us very textured, characters with full inner-lives. They were an amazing young ensemble who obviously bonded together in this film. These young men really make the film work. Also turing in fine performances as their teachers are Carolyn Goodall, John Savage and Julio Oscar Mechoso. David Selby and Zeljko Ivanek are also quite good in in two antagonist roles.

The story-line is of course a coming-of-age film at a time when the world was really changing in the early 1960's and presents a microcosmic view of the radical change between the generations that so marked this decade. The parents are depicted as upwardly mobile, post-depression/WW2 folk who are striving for material success and gain while putting the same hopes in their children. The irony is that the parents' pressures cause most of these young men to feel overwhelmed by their parents' expectations and in turn they feel ignored for who they really are. Between the parents and the young men are the instructors on the school/ship the "Albatross". In their own unique ways these teachers present an environment where these young men are challenged to find themselves as individuals entering adulthood. to re-qain their innate excitement for learning and above all-- the recognition that in the ship of life we are all interconnected and need to and can learn to work together. Just as a ship functions in unity, so we learn to realize the same in life. We also learn the delicate balance between the rites of the individual and our need for one another.

Bridge's Sheldon is a man driven above all to accomplish these goals by challenging these young men to face their fears. This is so even against the judgment of his wife and fellow-instructors. But Sheldon's hard-line eventually wins the love and respect of his young students even those he drives the hardest.

This is a fine, fine film and deserved much more recognition than it received. It seems quite often these days that when films like this are made that the tone is: "seen it; it's been done before and better". Ironic to me is that this take is so when it comes to films that have a story and some substance. Ironically many of these same critics will applaud some of the formula action or horror films that seem to come out of a cookie cutter. The irony here is that this story was a based on somethng that actually happened and people like Sheldon and the rest of the teachers and crew of the Albatross are rare gems in the world.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Tense Past

6/10
Author: Angry_Arguer from Shermer, Illinois
19 July 2004

Yeah, this is 'Dead Poets' on water (as I think 1000 other reviewers have commented). What difference does it make? They're both Disney movies and Disney is known for re-using the same idiotic themes. So let's get to the interesting stuff.

Scott catches on trends quite often and then supersedes them with his own. Think of it, we go from the 'Jaws' ripoff to the 'Alien' clone. 'Legend' came in the 80s fantasy craze. '1492' was a historical cash-in. Now he's spawned the epic-craze of which he is still master (Petersen will never improve).

So it's interesting to see this as one of his less derivative works. Unlike 'Blade Runner', this hasn't acquired as successful of a following and it's kind of obvious. Most likely it's because Scott was experimenting here unlike 'Blade' and it didn't work too well.

Anyway, we do get some interesting pieces. The titles are absolutely superb. The views of the ship are enthralling. Heck, even the beauty of the dolphins is made almost angelic. Too bad the whole "stupid bully cliche" had to barge in.

Final Analysis = = Midrange Material

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

bogs down with the melodrama of the boys

4/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
1 September 2015

It's 1960. Chuck Gieg (Scott Wolf) decides to attend school on sailing vessel Albatross instead of going to an Ivy League school. He joins other boys like rich kid Frank Beaumont (Jeremy Sisto), fearful Gil Martin (Ryan Phillippe) and Dean Preston (Eric Michael Cole) who struggles with school. The ship is run by skipper Sheldon (Jeff Bridges), his wife Dr. Alice Sheldon (Caroline Goodall) and McCrea (John Savage). The skipper intends to make the boys ship shape as they sail around in the Caribbeans.

I don't really feel for any of the kids. There are just so many of them and everybody has their problems. It gets bog down with their melodrama. It's too long. Jeff Bridges is powerful. I wonder if the drama would be more compelling if the movie starts with the ship in the storm and then flash backs to the beginning. Around midway, the drama tries to pump up the tension but I never feel for them. The storm scenes look well made.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

maybe, useful

Author: Armand from Romania
28 March 2015

it is far to be original. or one of great films. it is decent. and, maybe, for a part of its public, useful, touching and a form of lesson about life with few pink ingredients. it could be a good occasion to discover few actors at young age or Jeff Bridges in a bitter role but, in same measure, to remind old fashion values and few cultural references, the spirit of teenagers and a good guide who transforms theirs in men. it reminds many other films about the same theme but the manner is almost a virtue. because it is a right work, with not the best end but the tension, the drops of soap opera, the pieces from the epics about the man against nature, the importance of duty and the metamorphose in contact with a great challenge are the solid good points.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Manly Manful Men

5/10
Author: disinterested_spectator from United States
7 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The captain of the Albatross tells his crew, mostly boys of high school age, that the ship is not a toy, and sailing is not a game. But that is exactly what they are. They are not sailing for some practical purpose like earning a living by fishing. They are going sailing for the fun of it. Of course, the fun masquerades as a rite of passage for the boys that will turn them into men, but whom do they think they are kidding? If they want to play sailor instead of staying in school and then getting a job, fine, but don't insult our intelligence with a bunch of macho malarkey. When the title storm comes along and kills a bunch of them, I suppose the ones who survive get extra manliness points, but they still need to finish school and get a job.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Spoiler movie titles

6/10
Author: Kyaneos from Antarctica
6 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's an entertaining movie about the friendship forged among a group of teenagers who sail throughout the world in a ship/school. The story is developed dynamically and it is filmed in really beautiful landscapes.

The only reason of my review is this: the importance of choosing the title. The events occurred through the film do not forecast the incident that will happen eventually i.e. the "white squall"

In my opinion, the story could have had several different endings although the unfortunate movie title makes you watch the movie with another perspective. More or less, in the middle of the film the question you are asking yourself is: When is the squall going to take place? Instead of, what is it going to happen next?

Like I said, the title of this movie was an inappropriate choice.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Boys At Sea

7/10
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
20 June 2014

"White Squall" gives us a kind of coming of age story, wherein naïve boys encounter the real world of sailing on a schooner ship, run by a hardened sea captain, played by Jeff Bridges. Through the adventure, the boys make mistakes; they display fear; they face their fears; learn valuable life lessons; enjoy the perks of female company, etc., en route to manhood. It's all fairly predictable. Yet, we can't fault the film for being predictable, given that it is based on true events.

I liked the McCrea character, played by John Savage, an actor who has never given a bad performance in any film I have seen him in. But Chuck Gieg (Scott Wolf) is a bit too goody-goody for my preference; unlike the others, he never smokes or drinks alcohol, and only consumes orange juice and soft drinks. The casting of Scott Wolf helps not at all; if he were any more Disney-ish, he would have been out of place here. The other "boy" actors seem too old for their roles. And everyone is a bit too photogenic. They all look like they're straight out of central casting.

Some of the dialogue seems hokey. And the Chuck Gieg narrative voice-over, while evocative and philosophical, seems a bit contrived for someone that age. On the other hand, it does add emotional and thematic depth, so to speak. Indeed, the ending credits and song, "Valpariso", suggest an old man who is reflecting back to a long ago childhood; hauntingly nostalgic.

A physical adventure film like this does not require a lot of acting skills. And not a lot of acting skills is pretty much what we get. But it's a beautifully photographed film with interesting interior lighting and expansive outdoor camera shots. More pop songs from the 1960 era would have been nice. Sound effects are impressive.

The film looks good, visually. That's one of the two really good elements of the film, the other being a story premise based on real events, which makes the climax more meaningful and gripping. The weaknesses are the script and casting. "White Squall" is worth at least a one-time viewing, especially for those who enjoy outdoor adventure films.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fun, Adventure-Filled Film!

9/10
Author: g-bodyl from United States
3 December 2013

White Squall is a fun, beautifully-shot film that is essentially "Dead Poets Society" on water. That is not necessary a bad thing because this movie has the main themes about bonding and growing up. This movie deserves more credit that it gets. The story is interesting, the themes are essential, there is the usual solid and visceral direction by Ridley Scott, the special effects are good, and the editing is fast-paced.

Scott's film is about a bunch of high school seniors who decide to finish off high school on a ship that's mastered by the strict Dr. Sheldon who requires much discipline. Little do they know is that their voyage to South America is bound to be ill-fated.

Jeff Bridges, as usual, delivers a strong performance. We have to come to care and respect for his character even though he may not be the nicest. This may not be his biggest role, but it's one of his many effective ones.

Overall, this is a vastly underrated film that speaks of courage, growing up, and a sense of adventure. This film reminds me of both Dead Poets Society and Scent of a Woman but in good ways. My only problem is that the film tends to be a little too fast-paced which makes things a little murky at times. But, all-in-all, this is a very good film. I rate this film 9/10.

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