The Finest Hours
In 195, an amazing rescue was made off the coast of Cape Cod during a huge Nor’easter. An oil tanker split in half and what was left of the crew managed to keep their half of the ship afloat for several hours. The Finest Hours is that story of their rescue.
The hero of the story is – well, that’s not right; there are too many heroes to list in this movie – the main character is a Coast Guard Skipper, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine.) At the beginning of the movie he meets Miriam (Holliday Grainger), a telephone operator, and they get engaged. And then along comes this big storm. Meanwhile, the tanker is at sea and about to break apart. The ship’s engineer, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) just knows the tanker is in for it, he even warns the captain they need to slow down. Nope, the Captain says keep on going.
Then it happens, and the captain is gone. You’ve got half a gigantic ship, slowly letting in water, with giant waves rolling it around. As the night unfolds, we have Ray trying to keep the crew and ship in survival mode and Bernie getting a Coast Guard crew to go rescue them.
I could go on and on about this movie, which you should definitely see, but not because of the thrilling scenes, the amazing graphics, and the action. What The Finest Hours portrays is not a bunch of super human heroes going in to make a daring rescue. It’s not that at all.
Instead, the movie amazingly focuses on feeling the fear and doing it anyway. With skillful plotting and pacing, we find out that pretty much every person involved has, well, personal issues going on that make them motivated to do what they do. Bernie has already run a previous mission to save crewmen from a storm that happened a year ago. He failed and people died, people he knew, people in his home town. Is part of his drive to go on an impossible mission a chance to redeem himself? It’s got to take something, because when you see the rescue boat it’s like, what were they thinking?
Casey Affleck as engineer Ray Sybert is quiet and not well liked by the crew of the tanker. But he alone knows what to do to keep the men alive. And basically, this storm is so fierce that everyone is just scared s***less the whole time. And that’s what real heroism is about. It’s not pretty or fun or even the right thing to do. Fact is, every one of these people hits spots where they don’t know what to do. Bernie is constantly looking at his partner on the rescue boat, his eyes saying, is this ok? Am I doing all right? Because he just may become responsible for the death of his own men.
Disney has really backed these docu-drama movies lately, and is getting very good at telling the “true” story. After the movie, stick around for the credits, where you see pictures of the real crews and news articles that mirror the story.
Some might see the film as old-fashioned, but I for one am tired of seeing save-the-world movies. For once, we get a film about real people who act like real people. Even though you can hardly understand them through those Cape Cod accents.
The Finest Hours is rated PG-13, mainly because you will feel like you’re drowning through much of the movie. Kids will probably be bored with the thoughtful slow pacing compared to today’s action films. But anyone who claims to be called an adult these days should see this movie. Enjoy!