Fine, But not ‘Finest’ Hours (Review)


Review: The Finest Hours

This film is another based on a true story from the 1950s (Bridge of Spies, Brookyn). As I mentioned in an earlier post, settings in this era are very popular right now. In the Finest Hours, everyday people rise to the occasion and demonstrate the right stuff in the face of calamity and for the sake of others. I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Even though the two hours I spent watching it were not the “finest hours” I have spent in a theater, it was an enjoyable look into what is considered the most daring sea rescue in Coast Guard history.

I like the way that two actors in particular showed some range. Chris Pine, who starred as a youthful and cocky James Kirk in the latest Star Trek installment, plays a much more subtle character in this film; he is Coast Guard crewman Bernie Weber from a small New England port town. Somewhat shy and soft-spoken, he has a solid sense of duty, and what confidence he has stems from his knowledge of the coastal waters. The other role that features a rather low-key leader is the Chief Engineer of the oil tanker SS Pendelton, played by Casey Affleck—who often plays a more dynamic type. Both actors played the quiet heroes who showed leadership despite rash suggestions or pressure from others.

I was impressed by the portrayal of this group of stoical and “seafaring” people and families. They live with the sea’s dangers and share a tacit respect for the water and weather. While the action on land is compelling enough, for me the re-creation of the trials aboard the SS Pendelton were more gripping. A worthy discussion after the film is whether the real heroes were the men who piloted an impossibly broken ship in the middle of a winter storm, or the Coast Guard crew who set out to find them.

As someone who lives in the North, my only gripe was that some of the Coast Guard crew seemed immune to frozen and wet conditions: I know they were tough, but there have to be limits.

All in all, worth the price of admission and more great clothes and cars from the past.



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