Out to Sea – The Finest Hours (2016)

Worthwhile.  Inspired by true events, this is the story of how a small team of sailors in the Coast Guard risked their lives in a severe storm to go out and help an oil tanker that split in half off of the New England coast.  I saw an extended preview for this when I saw The Force Awakens in IMAX; it was somewhere around 7 – 10 minutes long, and it looked decent, but I felt like I had watched the entire movie from that abbreviated cut.  While The Finest Hours doesn’t have much going for it in the surprise department, it is still made well enough that it is both accessible and enjoyable from a historical thriller standpoint.

It’s not a huge departure from what Chris Pine typically does (helming a ship), but he turns in a believable performance.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about this is how similar it is to other big ocean disaster movies.  I’ve heard this is very much The Perfect Storm or The Poseidon Adventure, but you know what?  Other than Ridley Scott’s White Squall, I haven’t seen most of these movies, so most of the tropes haven’t been pushed to their expiration date, for me, at least.  Technology has come a long way since Titanic, and they pull off some pretty impressive effects with the spectacle featured here; when you get to that moment when you realize that ship has literally been torn in half, you will have an audible “oh shit” reaction.  It’s well made, but it’s not perfect; this is a very large cast, and apart from Pine’s character, you don’t get to know anybody else all that well.  Casey Affleck is the other big character, but he doesn’t have all that much personality.  Ben Foster is under utilized given his talent level, but neither one of them are bad.  The only person who is lacking is Eric Bana, and it is mostly because he’s attempting this Southern accent that he keeps slipping in and out of.

The Finest HoursMaybe he added it to be true to the real life story, but it just seems odd, given the fact this takes place in Cape Cod.

You know where this is going before it even gets there, and the fact that this is distributed by Disney means that it is lighter than the real life story likely was.  It’s well paced, but it got a little repetitive somewhere between the second and third acts.  I liked the additional layer where morality came into play; would it be immoral to lie and say you tried to go out to sea and couldn’t make it out, or do you have to go on this next to impossible suicide mission because the line of duty calls for it?  I liked the underlying redemption story for Pine’s character, and while how much of this story ended up being dumb luck is up for debate, they’ve made an exciting enough movie that you will feel satisfied if you take the time.

The Finest Hours (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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