In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.Written by
Walt Disney Studios Publicity
While it has its heart in the right place, The Finest Hours can't seem to rise above its sappy melodramatic storyline.
The Finest Hours tells the harrowing and courageous true story of the most daring rescue mission that the U.S. Coast Guard has, to this day, ever had to accomplish. Starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster and Josh Stewart, the film's cast is stacked to the brim with talent but the director, Craig Guillesspe takes away from their efforts by telling the story in the sappiest of ways. The film starts with Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) on a blind date with his friend as he looks forward to meeting Miriam (Holliday Grainger), the woman he has been talking on the phone with for months on end. It is a sappy way to start the film but that sappiness is soon discarded as soon as we are introduced to the USS Pendelton and its crew. The crew, headed by Casey Affleck's brilliant and film carrying performance as Ray Sybert, is in the midst of a terrible winter storm and they struggle to maintain control of the ship. After being battered by the brutal waves off of Nantucket, the ship is split in two and must stay afloat until help arrives. The film takes its shape during the scenes with the Pendleton and it's crew. Casey Affleck gives a good performance that remains as one of the most interesting of the film coupled with some truly gasp-worthy scenes of suspense and action. This is one thing the film has going for it, it has some truly breath taking action sequences that will leave you clawing at your arm rest and holding your breath. While an abundance of CGI is used, it still feels the way its supposed to. Cold and brutal. While the film is no match for the conditions shown in The Revenant, it still will make you shiver once or twice just looking at the weather these brave souls have to go up against. While these sequences and qualities make The Finest Hours a thoroughly watchable and enjoyable film, unfortunately the film compromises, what could be, white knuckle action and substitute it with a half-assed love story between Bernie and Miriam that borders on annoying after the first hour and equally annoying and poorly done Boston accents. The accents show Pine and Grainger as the biggest culprits. Grainger's performance as Miriam is annoying and wildly unrealistic and Pine is spineless in his rendition of, what many consider, one of the bravest men that ever served in the Coast Guard. Grainger's Miriam serves as more of a nuisance than a help to the film, which is rather disappointing because the role screams for a more able actress to take on the role and another screenwriter to make her character more than just a poorly written female character. It really throws the film for a loop, making it as lopsided as you can get. Despite this, the film moves through its main storyline with tenacity that is hard to match. One sequence in particular features the rescue crew trying to pass over the Nantucket ocean bar, a point in the ocean that features out going and incoming waves crashing against one another. The sequence is harrowing, the pacing of it is brilliant and the sheer intensity is one that the film can't seem to match for the remainder of the film. The film, while it does get your heart pounding, lacks character drama and depth. While we care about the characters, we only care about the actors playing them. If lesser known actors were in these roles, it would be clearer that the film could have used another rewrite and a stronger female character. Overall, The Finest Hours is a decent rescue film that serves its purpose of entertaining you but it does little else in the way of separating it from every other film of its type.
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