REVIEW: ‘The Finest Hours’ Is Worth A Watch Thanks To The Thrills

“The Finest Hours” takes audiences back to the days of the 1950s and follows the story of U.S. Coast Guard Officer Bernie Webber (played by Chris Pine) who is stationed on the coast of Massachusetts. The film’s main conflict comes when an oil tanker gets torn in half by a monster blizzard in the Atlantic Ocean resulting in Webber and a Coast Guard crew having to make a daring rescue.

Meanwhile, aboard the remaining section of the tanker, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is part of the crew that has to keep the ship afloat until help arrives.

The rescue-centric film is based on the true story of the actual Coast Guard mission and the flick certainly does capture a lot of intensity by portraying the grand moments of the epic tale. When the SS Pendleton is torn apart, the film breathtakingly displays the gravity of the situation.

The same can be said for many of the other grandiose parts of the movie, whether it the heroes trying to make it over waves or altering the direction of the ship without a wheel.

All of these exciting sequences build up enough energy to hold a viewers attention and seeing these moments on the big screen of a theater certainly make the film worth checking out. Unfortunately, though, it’s not necessarily one you have to rush out for, mainly because the visuals are one of the only things keeping this afloat.

The film featured a romantic subplot that felt a bit overdeveloped while the story of the mission and the survival of the crew on the other hand were rather by the books. There are too many scenes interspersed throughout the movie with the love interest that didn’t fit and many of the moments that feature the Coast Guard appear a bit dull leaving a film that lacks emotion.

The characters in “The Finest Hours” don’t exactly provide for much salvation either with many of the roles limiting the abilities of talented actors. Eric Bana plays the Coast Guard commander, but has nothing to do but yell at his subordinates with a poor southern accent. Ben Foster, meanwhile, has very little to say and just grunts most of the film.

As previously stated, the “Hours” didn’t handle the love interest character Miriam very well either, which is a shame because Holliday Grainger is actually a talented actress and she had some good delivery here.

The movie’s lead actors do just enough to keep the film moving along, though. Both Chris Pine and Casey Affleck bring a sense of quiet leadership to their characters, and while this stoicism didn’t work for every part of the film, it was serviceable for this type of action/adventure picture.

“Hours” is a bit too robotic at times and has a subplot that slows things down too much. The lackluster supporting characters don’t help too much, either. However, the leading characters along with the fantastic visuals do amount to a film worth seeing at a theater, albeit at a matinee price. Low 3 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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