Film Review: THE FINEST HOURS

Chris Pine stars as Bernie Webber and Holliday Grainger as Miriam  in the heroic action-thriller THE FINEST HOURS, based on the extraordinary true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard.

Chris Pine and Casey Affleck star in Disney’s new film THE FINEST HOURS

The U.S coast guard take centre stage in Disney’s new film THE FINEST HOURS, an American historical disaster film about one of the most legendary and heroic real-life rescues in Coast Guard history.

Based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman, THE FINEST HOURS tells the true story of a daring rescue attempt by the U.S Coast Guard after oil tanker SS Pendleton spilt apart off the coast of Cape Cod during a blizzard in 1952.

Chris Pine stars as Bernie Webber, the awkwardly shy coast guard, obsessed with following the rules and who has lived under a cloud of doubt following a previous failed mission which resulted in the death of a local fisherman. Bernie is ordered by commanding officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) to assemble a crew to go out and rescue any survivors of the Pendleton. Faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, the four-strong crew set out on the seemingly impossible mission to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.

Compelling, powerful and entertaining, THE FINEST HOURS is a tale of peril and heroism that is sure to get your heart racing. Considering it is based on a true story, the plot is pretty incredible, particularly when you consider the odds against the men and director Craig Gillespie does a decent job of drawing you into the film, delivering a realistic portrayal of events.

The_Finest_Hours_posterPine’s portrayal of Bernie Webber is believable and while the film attempts to give us some back story on his character, it isn’t enough to feel truly connected to the protagonist. The director chooses to focus on the action sequences, instead of the back story, hinting at relationships issues with fellow shipmates Richard Livesay (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) but never developing them fully. As a result, Pine is overshadowed by Casey Affleck who excels as quiet leader and tanker crew engineer Ray Sybert whose heroic actions is downplayed in the film.

Visually, THE FINEST HOURS is sure to take your breath away, boasting enough special effects to satisfy thrill seekers yet despite its big budget, isn’t quite as spectacular as those in THE PERFECT STORM (2010) or IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (2015). While there are plenty of wild open sea disaster scenes (the opening scene where the oil ship splits in half is particularly good, as it the sequence where the crew attempt to get over the bar), most of the tension and excitement comes from the characters.

On the plus side, the film has a great orchestral score, courtesy of veteran composer Carter Burwell (CAROL). Make sure you also stick around for the closing credits with real photographs from the actual 1952 event, which makes the events seem all the more real.

All in all, THE FINEST HOURS is a worthy tribute to the U.S coast guard rescue team but ultimately leaves you wanting more.

(3 / 5)

THE FINEST HOURS is released in UK cinemas on 19 February 2016.

About Donna

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1