Synopsis

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.

Director

Craig Gillespie

Cast

Chris Pine
as Bernie Webber
Casey Affleck
as Ray Sybert
Ben Foster
as Richard Livesey
Eric Bana
as Daniel Cluff
Holliday Grainger
as Miriam Webber
John Ortiz
as Wallace Quirey
Kyle Gallner
as Andy Fitzgerald

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by deloudelouvain 7 /10

Storm at sea, really not my thing, but nice movie

The fact that the movie is based on true events makes it a bit more special to watch. It's a nice story about courageous coast guards that risk their own lives trying to save an entire ship crew from a sure death. The movie is well made and if you are like me a bit afraid of big storms at sea then you will have the same feeling of anguish as I had during almost the entire movie. There are some cheesy moments as well, when it's more about their romance, but for the rest it's a good movie. If it was not for a couple scenes that I didn't like I would score it even more. Those scenes were unrealistic and bothered me a bit. Scenes where they are at sea in a major storm and have a conversation on a non rocking boat. That is simply impossible, but for the rest it's all good. Good actors, good story, and interesting due to it's historical facts.

Reviewed by paul-allaer 7 /10

Good ol' fashioned disaster-and-rescue drama is better than the "experts" would have you believe

"The Finest Hours" (2016 release; 117 min.) brings the telling, "based on a true story" we are reminded, of a daring rescue attempt at sea. As the movie opens, it is "Wellfleet, MA, November 1951", and we get to know two Coast Guarders who are out on a double date. Bernie (played by Chris Pine) is immediately smitten by Miriam *played by Holiday Grainger). The movie then shifts to February 17, 1952, where Bernie and Miriam are attending a party, and they decide to get married in April. Later that night, as a nor'easter is bearing down, the Pendleton tanker is in serious trouble, and before we know it, Bernie is ordered to assemble a crew and go out to find any survivors of the Pendleton. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is a big budget movie from Disney Studios, directed by Craig Gillespie ("Lars and The Real Girl"; "Million Dollar Arm"). If you have seen the movie's trailer (which as been inescapable in the theaters in recent weeks), you know exactly what you are in for: a bigger-than-life, against-all-odds rescue attempt of the crew of the Pendleton tanker, which has split in two, by a four man crew of the Coast Guard in Chatham, MA. Don't ask me how the Pendleton's remaining half tanker doesn't sink! I think it has something to do with the boat's balancing tanks, but in the end it doesn't matter, as we are here to witness some of the wildest open sea disaster scenes you'll ever see. In a sense, this reminds of "Titanic", except that the action scenes are pumped up and on steroids. Chris Pine (as Bernie) and Casey Affleck (as the Pendleton's main guy) are fine, but to be honest, they and the rest of the gang are all second fiddle to the special effects. I know that it's all CGI, yet it looks so darn realistic! The movie has a great orchestral score, courtesy of veteran composer Carter Burwell (his score for "Carol" received an Oscar nomination). Also make sure to stay through the movie's end titles, as we then get a bunch of period pictures from the Boston Globe and other news sources with the real life people from the events (and likely the source of the costuming for the film). Last but not least, this is released both in 2D and 3D, but just know that the movie was shot in 2D and then converted into 3D (I saw it in 2D). Bottom line: "The Finest Hours" is a good ol' fashioned disaster-and-rescue drama that is much better than the "experts" would have you believe.

"The Finest Hours" opened nationally this weekend, and the Friday evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended okay but not great. somewhat to my surprise. Regardless, if you are in the mood for an effects-heavy but very realistic disaster-and-rescue movie, I encourage you to check this out, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray (although a movie of this kind just begs to be seen on the big screen). "The Finest Hours" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Reviewed by grantss 7 /10

Enthralling story of courage and survival

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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