The Finest Hours

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This is the third movie of the last six months, that’s taken place in 1952 (Brooklyn and Carol are the others). This isn’t a love story, though. It’s the true story about the Coast Guard’s most daring rescue ever. Off the coast of Massachusetts, there was a storm so strong, it ripped two huge oil tankers in half. The Coast Guard sent out a tiny, 35-foot wooden rescue boat with a few men, to rescue 20 people. This is all based on the book “The Finest Hours: True Story Behind the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Rescue.”

What’s strange is that this movie isn’t all that captivating. Sure, the waves are huge and look menacing. Most times the special effects work. It just feels like the type of Disney movies they made in the ’70s. We get a bunch of one-dimensional characters, most of them bland. That’s especially frustrating since you have Ben Foster and John Ortiz in the cast.

British actress Holliday Grainger (The Borgias, Cinderella) works well as the worried girlfriend. She’s set up on a date with Chris Pine’s character. It’s not the most charming meet-cute you’ll see on screen, but it works considering the time period. She admits she’s afraid of water, and so he takes her out on a boat. Of course, the person he asked to borrow a boat, is surrounded by people that hate him. We later find out, Pine was involved in a rescue attempt that didn’t go so well, and lives were lost.

Casey Affleck plays SS Pendleton chief engineer Raymond Sybert. He seems to be channeling Tom Hardy with his mumbling dialogue, but for the most part, his character works. A character that doesn’t work is Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff. That’s Erica Bana doing his best with a southern accent. He’s the one that sends Bernie Webber (Pine) into a dangerous situation that even his co-workers are saying he should avoid.

There’s something about the various characters and dialogue that just come across as cheesy. The huge cook that wants to break out into song and cheer everyone up (and you do smile listening to him sing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”). The angry guy that you fear will cause a mutiny. You get lots of expository dialogue, which is probably needed in a film like this, so we realize just how dangerous a situation this is. Yet it needed to be written in a more interesting way.

The three screenwriters (a few who worked on The Fighter), give us another story of the worried woman back on shore, dealing with power outages and worry over the men at sea. Composer Carter Burwell, one of the best in the business, needed to tone down the score a bit. The over-the-top melodramatic and bombastic scores are getting irritating lately.

Director Craig Gillespie has struck out twice with me on two previous pictures — Million Dollar Arm and Lars and the Real Girl. This is his third strike. He brings nothing new to the table here. And coming off the disappointing Ron Howard movie In the Heart of the Sea…this was something we don’t need to see.

The 3-D adds nothing to this, and sometimes, the CGI isn’t put together as well as it should be.

It gets 2 stars out of 5.