The Finest Hours

Eric Bana, Chris PIne and Kyle Gallner appear in The Finest Hours. (AP)
Eric Bana, Chris PIne and Kyle Gallner appear in The Finest Hours. (AP)

What it's about:

The remarkable true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history.

What we thought:

When it comes to Walt Disney’s live action films based on reality, I tend to expect that the dialogue will be dripping with cheese and I’ll be forced to partake in some super idealistic world where everything works out. And although cheese is what I got from The Finest Hours dialogue, the tension and fear of death kept the idealism from the door, as massive waves become the stars of this movie.

The Finest Hours is based on the true story of a Coastguard crew that ventured into a deadly storm to save the crew from the Pendleton, a ship that was broken in half by the storm. Set in the 1950s, they had rely more on their wits than their equipment, and pulled off a rescue that is still viewed as the greatest in US Coastguard history. All the while, a young fiancé harasses the Coastguard.

Visually, The Finest Hours is a stunning piece of visual effect mastery, generating Perfect Storm waves that make you thankful that you are warm and dry in your seat. Although their magnitude appears a little exaggerated, it doesn’t take away from the awe you feel for the real people who pulled this off. The scenes with the crew on the Pendleton, helmed by the engine engineer (Casey Affleck), are also quite depressing, and the visuals of a tattered ship fuel this misery. It’s no surprise it took Disney a year to complete the visual effects, and it paid off.

Fortunately, the visuals were stunning enough to mask a terrible script, punctuated by the corniest of romances and peppered by a 50s American Massachusetts accent that only people form Massachusetts can understand. Perhaps the Americans understood this weird warble of an accent, but I lost the plot in a few places just because I had no idea what they were talking about. The plot on the sinking ship was more watchable than the awkwardness between the Boatswain’s Mate First Class Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and his fiancé (Holliday Granger). But not even the corny romance managed to lighten the mood. The Finest Hours is a sombre movie, with almost non-existent comedic relief and as cold as the waters onscreen. If you are looking for a warm and fuzzy Disney movie, move along.

The performance that stood out was Affleck, who anchored the ship scene well enough that you’d rather watch that than any of the other plots. Pine wasn’t too terrible when he wasn’t in the romantic scenes with Granger, and pulled off the frozen-within-an-inch-of-your-life look near the end of the film. His emotional outburst on the boat after being calm and reserved for most of the movie, showed some interesting range and proves that Pine needs to challenge himself a bit more in his roles.

A visual masterpiece with a mediocre subplot and okay acting, The Finest Hours is an enjoyable movie if nothing else is on, and if you do decide to brace the cold spend the extra bucks on 3D for a thrilling ride through monster waves.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24