Bombay Showcase

The Finest Hours: Off the coast

(From left) Eric Bana, Chris Pine and Kyle Gallner in a still from the film. The heroic action-thriller is based on the extraordinary true story of the most daring rescue in the history of the US Coast Guard.— Photo: Special ArrangeMENT  

The Finest Hours is based on the real life incident of the biggest small boat rescue in US coast guard history. In 1953, four men from Cape Cod in Massachusetts embarked on a dangerous rescue mission to save a sea-tanker struck by a storm in mid-sea. It’s a fine story of heroism and the approach the film takes is that of an old-fashioned American war movie.

The tone is set with the film opening to a 50s jazz number when our hero Bermie (Chrine Pine) meets his childhood sweetheart Mirriam (Holliday Grainger). It attaches the kind of old fashioned gallantry to the Coast Guard that we normally associate with other military enterprises, a paean to unsung heroes.

But in a story such as this, when the audience knows how it’s going to end, there has to be something more. The rescue mission itself is unexciting, with the only menace emanating from the dark, stormy sea in an icy cold night; the immersive 3D experience doesn’t help. The human drama at the centre is too simplistic.

The real story is a fine tale of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. But the film fails to milk the human complexities of the situation.

The only self-created conflict are too clichéd to be taken seriously; such as the ego-battles in the tanker between Ray (Cassey Affleck) and his adversary. Even the love story at the centre doesn’t put anything on stake.

The only half-interesting aspect of the film is perhaps a look at the lives around a coast guard officer. An entire community, friends and wives, who send out a silent prayer when their men go out to sea. A subplot shows us Mirriam’s transformation from an outsider to her acceptance of what comes with being the fiancé of a coast guard, a change that comes when she meets the wife of an ex-officer who lost his life in the sea.

But even at its finest moments, The Finest Hours is just unexceptionably plain and too traditional to surprise us.

Even at its finest moments, the film is just unexceptionably plain and too traditional to surprise

The Finest Hours

Director: Craig Gillespie

Cast: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana

Run time: 117 mins

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:51:29 AM |

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