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

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Index 87 reviews in total 

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Ridley Scott's Visceral and Occasionally Powerful Sailing Film Could've Been Wiser and More Personal in the Way It Develops Its Characters.

7/10
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States
31 August 2009

Herd a crew of fledgling white guys, apportion good and bad characteristics among them, and have them learn through tough examples that it is best to stick together and adhere to command. Women provide a supplementary function. The intrinsic outlook of the movie is that boys grow up to be men who do cool things together and then go out on Saturday night looking for compliant enough girls.

Nearly all movies in this genre have one kid with a wealthy, contemptible father who appears without notice, humiliating his son and requiring unreasonable things of him. And also a kid with a closeted neurotic fear. And a kid who is fearful that he doesn't have what it takes. All such characters feature here, although they are a little hard to tell apart since, rather than conveniently button-down casting, Scott has furnished the posse with brawny, sun-tanned young sorts with contour haircuts who seem like they hang out in Dockers ads. The dubious altruistic goal, the arbitrary crew members and the mandatory array of particular conflicts keep the movie from zooming in more on individual characters and the objective of cultivating superjock confederates. Nevertheless, there are some fine qualities to this film. There is the dimension of the ship itself, the more often than not opulent cinematography, the sumptuous atmosphere of release over nights in port, and the storm sequence near the end.

The most powerful sequence though is one that obliges more respect than the movie surrounding it. It is the death of a dolphin at the hands of one of the shipmates. We understand this boy's need to inflict violence in the state of mind to which he's been driven, but Scott lets us know full well how bewildered and betrayed the dolphin feels, one moment playing with the other shipmates and the next being put out of its misery on the dry deck of a ship as its family flees the unpredictable humans. It is an extremely difficult scene to watch, but it is a deeply honorable one, because it brings out the truly humanistic sides of the characters and us, the audience, when confronting the reality of the truly benign maligned.

As for the storm I will not say much, save to note that the title refers to a sudden and violent windstorm phenomenon at sea which is not accompanied by the black clouds generally characteristic of a windstorm, but instead white-capped waves and broken water, a meager warning to any unfortunate seafarer caught in its path. And so it does, in storm footage of extravagant wrath, and of the true dwarfing effect the sea has on any man-made power. Indeed, the man-made consequence of the storm is a trial presided over by the Coast Guard, at which sides are taken and diatribes are performed that will ring quite common to anyone who remembers the main feature of most any late '80s-90s mainstream American movie.

Scott's anamorphically shot sailing film could have been wiser and more personal in the way it develops its characters. Its inherent ideals are preferable the less you contemplate them. However, I enjoyed the movie for the headlong visceral vitality and unexpected, almost incongruous humanism of its adventure.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well...

Author: Shari (AfricanVenus84@aol.com) from United States
5 May 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Caught this on tv the other day and only because Jeremy Sisto was in it. It really was the Dead Poets Society of the High Seas. Bunch of misfit over-privileged kids with emotionally absent parents sent off to learn about life. I was in and out, because the movie is fairly boring. It was alright as a family film and learning from life experience, but not much more than that. Jeremy killing that dolphin was the high point of the film. This movie was all about the young talent of the time. Movies like that are generally good, but it was really lacking. The climax was supposed to be the squall which looked like water swishing around in a glass magnified. It was just trying to hard to be a film. I don't get the big deal about Ridley Scott. What's so great about his movies? I'm always suspicious of someone with mass appeal. Just means all the idiots are on the same side. I've seen a lot of his stuff and gotta say, not too fond of you buddy. Anywho, it's watchable if you wanna learn a lesson and see supposedly young talent.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

White Squall was underrated.

10/10
Author: Loz8 from Adelaide
1 November 2000

White Squall was underrated, yet not brilliant. It could definitely have been better with more character development. My favourite characters were Gil and Shay. Ryan Phillippe really surprised me with his fantastic acting ability as Gil, and once again the acting talents of Jason Marsden have been overlooked by other imdb users. He's the character who jumps off the 'yards' *first*. One thing about this movie is that it is hard to tell how much time has gone by therefore comprehension of the plot is marred, there is little emphasis on the boys' schoolwork making it seem like they are on a holiday and other than about 6 characters there are simply stereotypical young men on the ship, with no real identity. Okay, so that's 3 things. A very good thing about the movie is the setting and the way that it is portrayed. Full credit to the cinematographer and Ridley Scott on that account. A good movie. It did make me close to crying.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Falls short of the mark

6/10
Author: Catharina_Sweden from Sweden
13 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This could have been a very good movie. "To Sir with Love" meets a disaster movie! :-) But something with the timing and pacing is not right. The movie is too long - or rather: it has not got enough action to fill up more than two hours. Someone should have tightened it up.

Also, I cannot really decide if I like the Captain or not. He was quite irresponsible and sometimes too hard. As when he forced the boy who was afraid of heights to climb the mast in front of all the other boys, and when he expelled a boy "only" for using a harpoon on a dolphin. It would have been funnier if one could have admired the Captain whole-heartedly! I do not think that the boys developed enough either - and that is the "point" with this kind of super teacher-versus-wild kids movie. At least you were not allowed to see enough of this development, or the result of it.

Another problem was that several of the boys looked a lot alike so that it was difficult to keep them apart. (Or maybe it is a sign of my getting old, that I think that all young people look the same! :-) ) I also think it would have been enough if only two or three of the boys had been presented in detail, with their respective characters, backgrounds, personal problems, and development. The rest of them could all have been small bit parts, "foil". Now there was too much to remember about them, and trying to keep them apart, in just a feature film. If it had been a long TV series it would have been different - then you would have had time to take it all in.

Still, this movie is quite good enough to watch at home with your older children/teenagers on a rainy day!

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Re:

10/10
Author: sherwin martin from Philippines
30 January 2006

I think the movie was just that good i even wonder why the academy ignored it. To its critics, just appreciate it.I do love Dead poet's Society also, and I don't think white squall is an imitation of it.Oh captain my captain is dead's. Where we go one, we go all is for White squall. I appreciate the performances of Scott wolf and Ryan Phillipe as much as i appreciate that of Jeff bridges. Wonder again why he was not even nominated for the golden globe. The song of sting "Valpariso" adds to the beauty of this film. It just so dramatic, i even cried while i was watching it.The best part of the movie is when the boys supported bridges when the court was about to revoke his license as a skipper. I really love that part, i watched it several times. Ridley Scott is really good.peace out

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

AMAZING

Author: gonzo_ledger44@hotmail.com from Canada
21 April 2003

This film was simply AMAZING. I have seen it at least 30 times, and I love it with each viewing. White Squall is about a group of boys who set out on an incredible journey half way around the world and back. The boys are on a school ship and they find that the ship's captain, Christopher Sheldon (played by Jeff Bridges) is strict but is always teaching them the importance of unity. After many heartfelt speeches and events, the boys must face the horrendous White Squall. This movie was visually stunning as well as incredibly acted. Jeff Bridges does a marvelous job at playing Sheldon. He has the right amount of sentiment and stictness in his face. The actor that I was most impressed with was Ryan Phillippe. Phillippe plays Gil Martin, a very shy boy with a fear of heights. Phillippe makes me cry in many of his scenes. He was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!!!! The one-two-three wake up scene is so powerful, and it is all due to the talent of Phillippe. Go and see this movie. IT IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Utter Hokum

3/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
28 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story, as I understand, is "based on real events." That can be either good or bad, depending on what sort of license is taken with those real events and how they are rendered.

In this case, the results are enough to gag a maggot. I wasn't expecting much going in -- anticipating a story of rich high-school kids taking an ocean cruise under a stern skipper. That is, what I figured was a coming-of-age movie along the lines of something about boot camp or basic training, the kind in which the drill sergeant says, "My duty is to snap you out of your winsome civilian ways." Well, it IS that, in a way. The kids start out as kids and end up as an organic group. But this is far hokier than any boot-camp movie I've ever seen, outside of a deliberate comedy. Who WROTE this thing? The air is filled with slogans that belong, not in high school, but in the third grade. The dialog offends the ear.

Jeff Bridges usually does a better-than-average job but in this case his performance is mediocre. He brings nothing extra to the part, although given his lines, it's hard to know how he could do much with them. The rest of the cast is undistinguished and a few of the kids are painfully inadequate. There's a lot of tearing up, and considerable crying. The best scene involves a dolphin.

The immature clichés continue to the very end. The Coast Guard is cast in the role of the hard-hearted court at the hearing that follows the disaster. The interrogator does nothing but hit Bridges over the head with his misinterpretations and misconstruction of events. "You let the crew drink alcohol, didn't you?" (A couple of harmless drinks.) "And you didn't punish them, though you punished them for killing a fish." (The dolphin business.) The technical details surrounding the sinking are left murky. What is a "white squall" anyway? And if it's as dangerous as Bridges claims, why weren't the whole crew alerted and wearing life vests? But why go on? If "The Albatross" were a Dreadnaught, it would still be torpedoed and sunk by the ludicrous comic-book script.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Saw this at a free screening..

1/10
Author: revolutioner from San Francisco
21 September 2002

It STILL wasn't worth the price of admission! I love Jeff Bridges and Ridley Scott, but this had to be the low point for both of their careers. I didn't believe it for a second. Terrible script..we have seen it a thousand times. Every single film cliché was utilized with tragic results. I have never screened a film where not even ONE of the scenes were believable. The storm sequences were so poorly shot that I was looking for the wind and rain machines to sneak in frame. It appeared that much of the movie was filmed inside a studio water tank.

The film critics cut Scott WAY too much slack in their reviews for this garbage. Simply AWFUL!!!!

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Best watched with sound off

3/10
Author: Ina from Germany
16 January 2006

As a person who knows the filmed ship and some other ships, too, I cannot see the movie as a movie, only. As a movie is has some great, wonderful shots of the ship, most of them done on an existing vessel - apart of the ones in the disaster scenes, of course, and a certain room under deck. But regarding the story and dialogs I only can call it big crap. Nothing of that would happen like this on a real sailing vessel. No wonder, the film had bad impact on the existing ship - if I didn't know better, I wasn't tempted to do a sailing voyage for sure. Definitely, for Europeans I recommend to switch off once the ship ran aground. After that, the over-emotional, very American part begins which I couldn't bear. The pics are really, really great, no wonder in a Ridley Scott film, but if you can avoid listening to the text, it will become much better.

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good movie but slow in spots

6/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
29 November 2002

The film is entertaining, and the White squall part is excellent. However, the film is slow in spots, and drags it down from a 7. Jeff Bridges is a good actor, and I like him in this film. The end the film is a bit of a downer, but where would the interest be if no tragedy occurred. Worth watching on TV. 6 or 7 out of 10.

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