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
Andy Fitzgerald, the last surviving member of a Coast Guard crew, died on 15 November 2018. See more »
Neither half of the Pendleton sank, although both are shown doing so in the film. Both the bow and stern sections were left grounded on shoals by the storm, from where they were eventually retrieved and scrapped. See more »
February 1952. Bernie Webber is a boatswain/Petty Officer at a Coast Guard station on the coast of Massachusetts. A massive storm is in progress out to sea, damaging two tankers to the point that they appear likely to sink. On one tanker, the Pendleton, the chief engineer, Ray Sybert, is using all his ingenuity, resourcefulness and experience to keep the ship afloat and buy time until help arrives. Unfortunately for him and his crew, the Coast Guard have sent their best crew and rescue boat to the other stricken tanker. When the Coast Guard discover the Pendleton's situation, Webber and a 3-man crew are sent to help. The odds are stacked against Webber - just leaving the harbour in those seas will require large amounts of skill, courage and luck. Then they have to find the Pendleton, without a compass, rescue the crew and somehow make it home safe.
An enthralling (true) story of courage and survival. Compelling viewing - once the danger strikes, you're glued to your seat. What makes it so interesting is that they don't just focus on the efforts of the rescuers but also on the rescued. I found the Pendleton crew's story much more interesting than that of Webber and co - the ingenuity, resourcefulness and (reluctant) leadership of Sybert was amazing. This is helped by a great performance from Casey Affleck.
Not all good though. Many of the characters seem like cartoon stereotypes - the negative naysayers, the clingy girlfriend/fiancée, the inept commander. The romantic angle was overplayed and not that necessary. It did add depth to Webber's character but not much.
Performances vary. Casey Affleck is the stand-out as Sybert. Chris Pine is okay as Webber. Eric Bana is pretty weak and gives the worst American accent I've ever heard (I think it was supposed to be Southern but it varied so much and seemed so unnatural it was hard to tell). Holliday Grainger is a bit overbearing as Miriam, though that might have been intentional on the director's part.
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