Sunday, January 31, 2016

Movie Review: The Finest Hours

Who doesn't love a good historically based film, especially when it's Disney so you're pretty sure that the outcome will be uplifting and inspiring. The Finest Hours does not disappoint - and I don't feel I have to worry about spoiling anything because, hey, history! But seriously, this is probably one of the most exciting and fascinating Rescue At Sea stories I've ever read up on - so I was excited for the film.

Okay, really I was excited because Eric Bana and Michael Raymond-James both had supporting character roles in the film... but shhhhh! that's not what this is about.

The film is based on the book written by Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias, and follows the heroic story of the Coast Guard rescue of 32 men from the Pendleton which split in two during a blizzard off the coast of Massachussetts in 1952.

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 the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel. - Walt Disney Production Company
Chris Pine is our unlikely hero in the story - and if you're expecting his typical pretty boy role you will be shocked. He is by far the standout of this film, he isn't recognizable. He is an unsure, shy, awkward guy from the first scene until he pulls back into the pier after an insane night out in the storm. On the ship side, you also have a solid performance from the de facto leader of the survivors in Casey Affleck. I don't normally care for him in film (can't put my finger on why) but I found myself cheering for him to succeed in getting the group of men working together to keep the stern afloat (literally all that was left of the boat was its butt). Both men had the challenge of some of their coworkers not having much faith in their abilities - not understanding their need to follow rules.

One such character on the Pendleton is D.A. Brown played by Raymond-James. If you know his work, you know this is a character he's played before. Maybe not by that name in that situation, but a hot head with a lot of swagger. He quickly becomes the antagonist and you kinda hope he falls off the boat. Again, a solid performance (but I admit I'm biased), and a very needed voice in the movie.

We get a little bit of a love story with Pine's character, and while some have said that it was what is wrong with the film I disagree. It gave us more backstory for the way Pine's character (Bernie Webber) responds to thing. Webber is as straight laced as they come. He's not confident in himself even though he knows he's good - he just doesn't show that or have the courage to show it. He's a rule follower and if there aren't rules he fumbles around trying to figure out what he can and cannot do.

This comes to a head as the men head out on the rescue mission because they lose contact with the mainland and suddenly he is in control and has decisions to make. Not only is his life in the balance but so are the three other men with him - plus all the potential lives on the Pendleton. Once he realizes that rules and regs are just guidelines, that a lot comes to instinct and sheer determination, he comes into his own.

I really enjoyed the film, and my parents definitely did. My mother was on the edge of her seat with her hands covering her eyes (all the while screaming) during the ocean scenes (so for 90% of the film). My dad said he gave the movie two big thumbs up - and wanted me to tweet the cast that I follow (including MRJ lol) that he cried. It was that good.

Is it Oscar worthy? Probably not - though the graphics of the split ship were impressive (blows Titanic out of the water IMO, but we've come a long way in technology). It's a solid film - it's PG 13 for the intense ocean sequences, there's only one or two curse words that I remember and unless kissing is too graphic for you no sex. So older kids should be okay watching this film.

Definitely make plans to see it - if not in theaters then on DVD. It's worth the couple of hours.

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