MOVIE REVIEW: The Finest Hours

Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Casey Sherman, Michael J. Tougias
Stars: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger

The incredible true story set in 1952 about the Coast Guards who risked their own lives against unbelievable odds to save a crew of men stranded on half a ship in the worst storm of their time.

This is a big screen movie, and I’m not trying to persuade you just to go to the cinema, I’m saying that this film is an experience worth paying for.  Find the biggest screen you can find with the best sound system that it has to offer and just sit back and enjoy.  Watching this film in Imax I felt my bones shake, the weather jumped off the screen, and for hours afterwards I felt as though I had just come ashore after a turbulent boat trip.  Which is odd as I never go on boats or swim in open water, and you can blame Jaws for that.

The story revolves around two main characters Chris Pine playing Coast Guard Bernie Webber, and Casey Affleck who plays the stranded boat’s engine chief who is trying to keep what is left of half the boat afloat long enough so that someone can rescue them.  Pine plays against his usual role of self belief and cockiness to play the brave yet shy Webber.  It’s so nice to see him testing his range after a lot of roles playing basically the same character.  Affleck I’m still unsure about, he plays varying roles in different films, but you can’t get any form of reliability from him.  Here he looks as though he’s half asleep even when his character should be charged fully of energy.  It’s an odd performance.

The subplot of Bernie falling in love with a girl who doesn’t understand the true nature of the job of the Coast Guard offers a different tale through the movie.  The girl is played by Holliday Grainger and she gives that stubborn loving performance and fits the time of the film, she has that classic Hollywood look about her.

The supporting cast here give a certain weight to the proceedings, with Eric Bana and Ben Foster being really underused in parts that could have gone to less talented performers.  It’s a little problem that I have with films where great stars are taking nothing parts.  Anyway, little rant over, back to telling you about this film.

The Finest Hours is packed full of heart stopping action, visuals and sound that bring you right into the heart of the storm.  The performances are a little uneven throughout the film, but that doesn’t stop you from getting involved, with every moment that the characters are placed in danger you live it with them.  This is a true story about men and women who lived by the sea and had to deal with the bounty and the hazard that the deep blue sea brought.  The effects were just as devastating emotionally on land as they were out on sea.  The effects here are outstanding, and as I don’t watch trailers, the incredible nature of what happened to the ship left me open mouthed and watching this in shock.

The cinema was created for films like this, the grand scale and the emotions that come through the running time leave you in no doubt that the best place to enjoy this film is on the large screen.  I’ll be the first in line to buy this on Blu-Ray on release for one and only one reason, to see how it translates to the smaller screen.  Do yourself a favour and watch a film that shows the best of the human spirit and how people who get paid very little do the bravest things.  Get to the biggest screen you can.

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