Rarely do man versus nature flicks hold any of my interest, but thanks to “Disney Magic,” the same way I was turned into a Jason Shwartzman fan do to
Saving Mr. Banks, Mickey and company got me to enjoy The Finest Hours.
The story takes place four days after St. Valentine’s Day in 1952 as two massive oil tankers, the SS Pendleton and SS Fort Mercer are caught off the shores of Massechusetts in a storm so horrific that one would assume Odysseus was out to sea and Poseidon was taking extracting his vengeance upon him.
Coxswain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) has just gotten engaged to his love-at-first-sight fiance Miriam (Holliday Grainger) and as he seeks permission to get married on April 16 from his superior, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), a Southerner who is not familiar with the weather patterns off the New England Coast, he is sent out to rescue the SS Pendleton.
Webber is still struggling with the loss of a handful of men on a rescue mission he attempted the previous year as he heads out through the same barge that tragedy struck. Cluff sends out three men with Webber, Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner) and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) to rescue 33 men who are stranded in the aft of the tanker that would be sunk by nightfall. It is up to Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) to keep his crew alive until the boat that can only support 12 adults safely to rescue them.
This is one beautiful film, the darkness of the storm, the bright white snow that reflects the moonlight, even the ruby red lipstick that pale Miriam wears enhance the visuals of the this film. The 3D did give me a headache as usual, but after awhile it went away.
The Finest Hours is a very traditional disaster movie, a suicide mission that they are able to survive the elements by the grace of God to return home to their friends and family. There is yet another woman in waiting, only this time a strong character who shows her love instead of being a two dimensional worrier.
The score is superb and good music always enhances the experience of a film of this magnitude. A true story that does have some over dramatized scenes, but those are there to give the audience the feel of being at sea without leaving their chairs.
I was so drawn in that I forgot it was Casey Affleck in the role of Sybert. Pine was great pulled off a role that most would have fumbled.
The Finest Hours opens nationwide on Friday, January 29, 2016.