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Running Time:
1 hour 57 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for intense sequences of peril

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This rousing, old-fashioned tale of remarkable heroism is thrilling, suspenseful and captivating while remaining grounded in humanity.

Additional Info:
Chris Pine ... Bernie Webber
Holliday Grainger ... Miriam
Casey Affleck ... Ray Sybert
Ben Foster ... Richard Livesey
Kyle Gallner ... Andy Fitzgerald
Eric Bana ... Daniel Cluff
Rachel Brosnahan ... Bea Hansen
Graham McTavish ... Frank Fauteux
John Magaro ... Ervin Maske
Abraham Benrubi ... Tiny Myers
Josh Stewart ... Tchuda Southerland
Keiynan Lonsdale ... Eldon Hanan
Benjamin Koldyke ... Sam
John Ortiz ... Seaman Wallace Quirey

The Finest Hours

On the night of Feb. 18, 1952, a nor’easter whipped through the seas off the coast of Massachusetts with enough force to tear two oil tankers literally in half. As the SS Pendleton’s chief engineer Raymond Sybert (Casey Affleck) tries desperately to keep the semi-ship afloat and to rally the dozens of remaining crew members to stay and fight rather then lower lifeboats into roiling seas that will immediately capsize those tiny craft, a Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, springs into action.

Having already sent most of his men out to rescue the other tanker in distress, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) commands Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) to cobble together a crew that will take a 36-foot wooden motorboat out to the Pendleton.

Before any of this happens, we see Bernie’s meet-cute with the outspoken Miriam (Grainger) while on a blind date, with a courtship that leads up to her asking him to marry her. He wants Cluff’s approval — it’s a formality at best — but the storm hits that same day, moving Bernie’s wedding plans way down the list of Coast Guard priorities. Once Bernie takes off for the Pendleton — with a ragtag crew that includes Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner) and Navy man Ervin Maske (John Magaro) — Miriam can only take shelter from the storm with her fellow townsfolk and hope for the best.

Director Craig Gillespie (“Million Dollar Arm”) is clearly going for classic-movie sweep, but in his rather unsure hands, The Finest Hours is hampered by its inability to integrate the romance into the action story,  and by juggling too many characters, all of whom are vital to the story.

One of the cornerstones of this adventure should be that both rescuers and the rescued are wet and cold throughout, but until the word “hypothermia” gets mentioned late in the game, we see Bernie and his crew crashing through huge waves (in some impressive special effect effects work) without even shivering.

Giving it their all is an impressive ensemble including Graham McTavish, Abraham Benrubi, John Ortiz, Rachel Brosnahan and many other performers whose faces make an immediate impression, a must in a film with this many speaking parts. They even handle the New England accents without embarrassment.

There’s also the matter of the actual rescue, which is quite harrowing and realistic and the special effects team here fakes the ocean and its terrors with chilling reality. If only the writing and directing had approached a similar degree of realism.


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