The Finest Hours, 2016.
Directed by Craig Gillespie.
Starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger, Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro and Eric Bana.
The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.
Disney are taking over the world and will soon own you, me and the dog. Now the biggest studio in Hollywood (weren’t they always?), they have embarked on a global mission to bring us the best cinematic entertainment possible with trips to a galaxy far, far away and the seemingly endless jaunts with our favourite team that avenges, not to mention the one-too-many nautical trips with Jack Sparrow.
But not to be down-hearted by the latter’s diminishing returns, the latest big-screen film from the House of Mouse is of a similar theme, this time retelling the true story of a daring rescue mission in 1952. Said mission took place in Cape Cod, led by the charming Bernie Webber (Pine), who despite his somewhat nervous demeanour, sets off with three colleagues (Foster, Magaro and Gallner) to attempt a rescue of the crew of an oil-tanker that is close to disaster, despite the best efforts by its ever-decreasing crew.
The canvas director Craig Gillespie paints on is substantial, particularly when the films jumps aboard the tiny coastguard boat designated to attempt such an audacious rescue. As the rain splashes and crashes around our noble sails-men, you want to feel as though you are right there alongside them as they enter the tortuous waters of the Atlantic. But such is the detrimental effect that the colossal amounts of CGI have on the heroics of the story that you only feel a fleeting sense of heroism, lost all at sea under the weight of the emphasis put on the CGI wizards.
Sure, the audacious rescue attempt when it arrives does have some tense and fraught moments but everything leading feels like such a damp squib that you end up caring not one jot if the nautical adventures end with a rescue or otherwise.
The cast perform admirably throughout though and are the reason the film keeps it’s head above water: Pine, who has charmed his way through many roles in recent years, is on good form as lead coastguard Webber, while the always impressive Ben Foster continues his rise towards fully – fledged leading man. British actress Holliday Grainger gives as good as she gets throughout despite the overly saccharine nature of her romance with Pine. It’s Casey Affleck who shines the brightest here though, superb as the doomed oil – liner engine runner Rya Sybert. With this and the same-day release (in the UK that is) Triple 9, Affleck proves one more his place amongst the best actors of his generation.
While The Finest Hours has spectacle aplenty, the film gets overly soaked with some poorly conceived CGI that never allows true immersion. But it does have a certain bullish charm mixed with some tender moments off-shore that keeps the engine running, with the cast all performing well. A decent if unspectacular boat ride.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Scott J. Davis is Senior Staff Writer at Flickering Myth, and co-host and editor of The Flickering Myth Review Podcast. Follow him on Twitter.
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