Film Review: The Finest Hours

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - May 26, 2016
Film Review: The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours provokes emotion much in the same way that any war movie based on a true story would, with its use of a group of men accomplishing an unbelievable feat, all the while recognizing their personal life and what is at risk. The one exception in this film is that instead of man fighting man,  the war is against the sea.

This narrative begins by introducing us to Bernie Webber(Chris Pine), a timid member of the coast guard, getting mentally prepared to meet a woman he’s been talking to over the phone for weeks.  The writing emphasizes this climatic moment, illustrating Bernie’s difficulty to muster up the courage to meet her. In comes Miriam(Holliday Grainger), a beautiful young woman with a wild streak in her. Instantly you understand what these two mean to each other, and off goes the plot line. Normally I’m not a fan of this rushed character development, and I’m still not quite sure I liked it in The Finest Hours, but this scene is so crucial to the narrative that I’ll accept it.  Keeping up with the theme of rushed character development, we get only a short way through the film until Miriam asks Bernie to marry her, and after a bit of a spat, he reluctantly agrees. Although the acting was generally weak in this film, the one exception being Casey Affleck as Ray Sybert, I will say the chemistry between Pine and Grainger made the real life love between Bernie and Miriam transform onto the big screen.

Moving forward, The Finest Hours continues along it’s rushed first third of the film, and a long to the action. Almost immediately after becoming engaged, Bernie is forced to sea to save Ray Sybert’s crew, after their ship took damage and began taking on too much water. Normally this would be a routine procedure for the coast guard, except thi time it was during the storm of the century.  I’ll spare you the details about how Miriam was devastatingly concerned, and the subplots then ensued between the men; The real story of this film is its ability to depict the ocean as the ferocious beast that it truly is. Being a true story, it is difficult to imagine the actual rescue attempt being as scary as the hollywood version, but there’s no doubt in my mind it was. Rushed plot aside, I’m genuinely impressed at director Craig Gillespie’s ability to make the most of the rescue. The Finest Hours actually focused on the mission, and not the love story, which was a breath of fresh air, and moderately surprising. 

When we get to brass tax on this film, you’re going to enjoy watching this film. Sure, there are some storylines that seem rushed, some scenes that add nothing to the film, but overall it’s an impressive depiction of an even more impressive story. The shots are daunting and stunning at once, with the help of CGI of course, and the acting isn’t going to ruin it for you, as long as you’re not setting your bar too high. The Finest Hours is a feel-good action-drama about the Coast Guard’s most significant rescue, and has sufficient layers of depth to keep you entertained and inspired.  Take two hours out of your day to watching this thrilling feature, it won’t provide the same impact as some other titles in the genre, but is worth the watch none the less!

Official Trailer:


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