Classic Movie ReviewsMovie ReviewsClassic Review: The Finest Hours (2016)

Keith NoakesJanuary 29, 2017

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “The Finest Hours” which originally appeared here.

In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro), set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.

I’ll start this off by mentioning that this film does come in IMAX but I was unable to see it in those. After watching it, I believe that this film could have been better with it but this will based on that. There were definitely moments where it would have come in handy but it was still good without them. Ok, now on to the story, this one is about four Coast Guard members led by Bernie Webber (Pine) where on one day in February of 1952, one of the worst storms struck New England. This storm was able to damage an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod, splitting it in half. If it was up to him and his team to go out and rescue the 30 sailors trapped aboard the vessel before it sinks. One thing I did like about this is didn’t fool around as things started early with the crisis on the ship occurring within the first 20 minutes. This advanced the plot but this came at the expense of character development. With this film being a story about real characters, you never feel invested in them as the film tended to focus on the wrongs aspects of the characters and in some cases, no characters at all. For example, this film started off focusing on Webber’s romantic exploits instead of the events that led to his shattered confidence at sea. I found that his relationship with a woman named Miriam (Holliday Grainger) never really went anywhere and the scenes featuring her were just filler and/or used for a perspective of someone still on shore. We know nothing or very little of the other three guys as they just tag along with Webber along their mission to rescue the sailors on the ship. I found that the sailors aboard the sinking ship were more interesting than the Coast Guard members. There appears to be backstories between the ship’s crew and the ship’s engineer and makeshift leader Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck). I thought Affleck was good at being the quiet guy in the background who was forced to be a leader after a crisis. Pine was okay here as it was easy to see him in a leader-type role but there wasn’t really much else going on as his character just seemed to one-dimensional to me. There was a lot of drama to be had here with the sailors and the Coast Guard members but it was hard to take anything too seriously with all of the Boston accents. Speaking of accents, Eric Bana, an Australian, was in this as well as Webber’s commanding officer and his southern accent was pretty bad as well. I didn’t really see the point of his character either. The special effects here were good with the ship destruction effects and the waves were nice to watch (and probably would have been better in IMAX). Overall, this was a decent disaster/rescue film but just lacked some depth (pun intended) and some development to make it more memorable.

Score: 6/10

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