The Finest Hours is a massively entertaining action adventure movie with some jaw dropping visuals and first rate performances from the cast. It takes a little while to get going but it’s worth the build up and should be seen on as large a screen as possible.
Plot: On February 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter strikes New England, wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path. The SS Pendleton, an oil tanker bound for Boston, is ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern. As word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring operation to rescue the stranded men. Despite overwhelming odds, four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber, set out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little, if any, means of navigation, facing frigid temperatures, 60-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.
Review: I’ve always been a fan of movies like this and The Perfect Storm where it’s ordinary men battling against nature and The Finest Hours I’m pleased to say is a thrilling and visceral action adventure tale. It’s all the more interesting due to it being a true story and the acting is all superb by the entire cast.
I’ve always liked Chris Pine and his portrayal of Bernie Webber is one of his most sympathetic characters he’s played to date. Webber is a good man through and through and always likes to do things by the book; when he is requested to pick a team and go help a ship that has been split in two during a storm he doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing. From the opening scene when Bernie meets Miriam (Holliday Grainger) he lacks self confidence and is immediately appealing, feeling like a real person with real problems.
It does take a little while for things to really get going but I didn’t mind as I enjoyed the character build-up so we could get to genuinely care what happened to them.
Casey Affleck plays Ray Sybert, the man forced to take charge when things go awry on the ship and like Pine he plays him as a man who doubts himself as does everyone else on the ship. He is forced to make tough decisions and is questioned every step of the way by the obligatory annoying know it all character. That was the only aspect of the film that jarred as it felt he was only there to provide a human obstacle to Sybert’s problems but it wasn’t a big deal.
The visual effects are incredible and I saw the movie in Ultra AVX 3D which is the only way to watch a film of this scale. The use of sound was especially important with the ship creaking and groaning all around the cinema making it more of an immersive experience. There were various points where I was thinking “how did they do that?” which is rare in this day and age and only a good thing.
Once the ship splits in half the film doesn’t let up and is exciting up until the satisfying conclusion.
The music score was impressively bombastic during the action sequences and although lacking a memorable theme it worked nicely for the movie.
Overall, The Finest Hours is a massively entertaining action adventure movie with some jaw dropping visuals and first rate performances from the cast. It takes a little while to get going but it’s worth the build up and should be seen on as large a screen as possible.