Who could believe that watching a Coast Guard captain steering a boat could be so exciting and suspenseful? I was very pleasantly surprised by The Finest Hours, the latest Disney action film based on a true story. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, without checking my glow-in-the-dark watch even once.
Being a Disney period piece set in the early 1950’s, there’s nary a cuss word nor a sex scene, which is actually quite refreshing. The film feels old fashioned in a good way. It’s the story of a daring and dramatic rescue attempt involving a handful of Coast Guard personnel who are sent out in a roiling blizzard to rescue the surviving crew members of an oil tanker that has literally split in half off the coast of Cape Cod. It’s also the budding love story of a brave and soft spoken Coast Guard captain (Chris Pine) and the plucky girl (Holliday Grainger) awaiting him on shore.
Now the film is not without its issues — what movie is? With the terse New England accents, the crashing waves and the 50 thousand shades of gray in the film’s dark and stormy palette, it wasn’t always easy to distinguish what exactly was going on. And although the wind was fiercely blowing and the sky was heavily snowing, the characters weren’t shivering, and their breath was barely showing. Grainger was braving the great Nor’easter with nothing more than pretty little pumps and nylon stockings to warm her lower extremities, and no hat to shield her expertly pin curled locks, which were never out of place. In addition, it would have been nice to have a little more backstory on her poignant character and her “bear” coat.
But those minor details don’t stop this film from being an inspiring and entertaining tribute to the brave men who battled the elements and attempted, against all odds, to save their sea-faring brothers. Look for other fine performances from Casey Affleck and Ben Foster, under the skilled direction of Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Million Dollar Arm). It’s a great film to see with the family, but make sure everyone bundles up — so much freezing weather is depicted it will truly shiver your timbers.
1 Hour 57 Minutes
Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.
THE FINEST HOURS Review — Waves of Excitement and Emotion