In October 1991, a confluence of weather conditions combined to form a killer storm in the North Atlantic. Caught in the storm was the sword-fishing boat Andrea Gail. Magnificent foreshadowing and anticipation fill this true-life drama while minute details of the fishing boats, their gear and the weather are juxtaposed with the sea adventure.Written by
Erwin van Moll <email@example.com>
In the weather forecaster's office, a mid-1990s model Macintosh computer is visible on a desk in the background. See more »
Christina 'Chris' Cotter:
[letter to Bobby]
Hi, Bobby, you're somewhere out there, on the deep blue goddamn sea, and I'm writing this on a box two semi-down pillows, that I secretly bought for us at Penny's, and I'm smiling at myself because the surprise I have in store for you... I'm talking removal, from our dungeons in the Crow's Nest... to our own place... It's no great shakes but... but ya gotta begin with a baby shake... right? Forever love Bobby... I'm in this for the long run...
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Effects are good but overall it's a storm in a teacup
In 1991 the crew of fishing boat the `Andrea Gail' sets sail into the Atlantic in search of fish. However they find themselves stuck with a storm front barring their way back to home. They push on regardless into one of the biggest storms ever recorded a combination of three separate fronts coming together.
This film had it's UK premier just ½ a mile from my front door in Birmingham's biggest cinema complex, Clooney came over for it himself (don't know how much he liked being able to see junction 6 of the M6 from where he landed! So at the time I did kinda want to see this film, but never got round to it. I have just seen it on video and feel that I've put the film at a disadvantage because the best thing about it (the special effects) don't work as well on a 21 inch screen as on a cinema screen.
The plot is based on a true story but from my understanding is pretty fictionalised given the outcome. That's not a problem however as it isn't a solemn tribute to these men just a record of the storm itself. The fact that it's focus is the storm IS the problem. For the first hour we catch fish, fight on the board, bond with family etc and generally try to build these fishermen into characters and not fodder like a disaster movie. This is painfully slow and didn't work for me I was interested in the men but it seemed to me that the film wasn't. The first half wasn't spend getting to know the crew, rather it just felt guilty to rush into action this isn't an action movie after all, it is a TRUE story! Therefore I felt that the film thought it owed the characters something.
The second half is actually pretty good but it's all due to the seamless effects and some good direction. The waves look real and even on my TV I got into the tension and fear of the storm. However the film leaves the fishing boat for most of the tensest scenes and joins the rescue efforts in other areas the Andrea Gail is actually used surprisingly little in the second half considering the focus of the first half. My one problem with the effects is the same one I had with mission Impossible we've already seen the money shot in the trailers and adverts etc. Here the money shot is the huge wave itself and I felt robbed that I'd seen that on the poster and on the TV.
The heavyweight cast are all solid actors from the stars to the support names. However they can't compete with the effects. I mean Bob Gunton is a good actor when he is given the chance but here he is only ever seen in the midst of a rolling boat or in the sea! Clooney and Walberg are both good and it's good that they did something a little different from a traditional action movie. The rest of the crew are also all good in the first half what do you expect from names like Fichtner, Reilly, Payne and Hawkes. But again in the second half they are simply thrown around on a massive soundstage. The one thing I must praise is that they meet the end of the film with dignity and no-one goes after a hammy exit. The women are left with the worst roles all they can do is look weepy and stare out to sea. Mastrantonio gets to sail a boat but that's about it for her. Karen Allen and Diane Lane are both wasted and landlubber Michael Ironside turns up just long enough to sneer and collect his cheque.
Overall the first hour drags a little despite the strong cast making up the crew of the Andrea Gail. The second half is good but only because the effects are so powerful that you'll get caught up in the storm yourself. However when it was all over I was left wondering what I'd just seen it looks like it's a true story and a drama but really it is just another summer effects movie (except this one is a little less fun that the others). At the end of the day, despite it's odd strong point I found this to be a perfect storm in a teacup.
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