The Finest Hours
by Tony Medley
Runtime 117 minutes
OK for children
This film starts with
Frank Sinatra singing “The Huckle Buck.” I thought I was the only one
still alive who had ever heard this song. I’m not sure why this is the
song that opens the movie because it was recorded by Frankie in 1949 and
the movie is set in February, 1952, when two 500-foot oil tankers were
both ripped in half by a huge storm off of Chatham,
Massachusetts, stranding their crews.
Well directed by Craig
Gillespie, written by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, based
on the book by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, the film is
gripping with fine special effects, but lags during the final ten
minutes. In fact, suddenly the storm and all the effects, like the
audio, completely stop, which seems somewhat unrealistic, and the film
lags, exacerbated by the music which had, up until then, been a fine
addition enhancing the tension, and becomes maudlin.
Chris Pine does a fine
job portraying coxswain Bernie Webber, who was ordered by new (and
unrespected) station chief, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) to
quickly assemble a crew and take them out on a small lifeboat designed
to carry only 12 people to look for survivors of the SS Pendleton.
Meanwhile, on the
Pendleton, chief engineer Raymond Sybert (Casey Affleck) has to take
charge of the remaining crew and figure out how to keep what is left of
the ship afloat until rescuers arrive (rescuers they never had any
reason to believe would arrive since the ocean was so brutally rough).
Thrown in is a real life
love story between Bernie and Miriam (Holliday Grainger) that is
touching when one learns that it really happened. Stay for the closing
credits which show pictures of all the real people. Grainger is almost a
dead ringer for the real Miriam.
The best parts of this
film, which is in 3D for some reason, are the special effects,
especially when the small boat is trying to get out of the Chatham