THE FINEST HOURS
FILM REVIEW - THE FINEST HOURS
Directed by Craig Gillespie.
Starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster.
The Finest Hours is the true story of the Pendleton, a T2 oil tanker that was ripped in two by a storm of biblical proportions off the coast of Cape Cod in the winter of 1952. The ship’s bow – including all the important bits like the bridge, radio room and officers – sinks in a matter of minutes, leaving the engine room and 32 survivors adrift in the stern section. Chief engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is an unpopular member of the crew, but works against time and the odds to keep the wreck afloat until help arrives. Another tanker has also been scuttled in the storm, and the bulk of the Cape Cod coast guard are dispatched to search for survivors. Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) takes a small lifeboat out in 70-foot waves with a skeleton crew to search for the Pendleton.
The Finest Hours is not an inventive or ground-breaking movie, and that’s a huge part of its appeal. It takes an unapologetically simplistic approach to character and conflict. It’s not clever or ironic, and Craig Gillespie’s (Million Dollar Arm, the Fright Night remake) style of direction is very safe and conservative. He doesn’t attempt to hide the workings of narrative, and manipulates our emotions like old school Spielberg. And it’s so blatant that you simply can’t fault him for it. We might be aware of what he’s doing, sometimes it’s enough to give yourself over to a movie and let it steer you, no matter how obvious it may be. It is a pleasure. My only gripe is with the utterly redundant use of 3D. Watch it without the bells and whistles if you can.