Half of the boat sinks, but the other half stays afloat and the crew survives. Led by the quiet Ray Sybert (Affleck), the crew must band together to stay alive during an epic series of waves and rain that threatens to capsize their entire boat. But the crew can only do so much. Eventually, Bernie and his crew will have to come to the rescue. Although the local fisherman advise otherwise, Coast Guard leader Daniel Cluff sends Bernie and his crew of men (Ben Foster, John Magaro, among others) on a near-suicide mission to save 32 men from a terrible fate.
This is also a visually stunning film, filled with a descriptive sense of period and some special effects that will certainly amaze you. The constant rain and the never-ending flood of waves causes the film to become slightly visually busy, and yet, I have a hard time thinking that you'll notice when the sound and picture elements are as engrossing as they are in The Finest Hours. Some of the action scenes are epic and thrilling, with the final rescue serving as a terrifically staged sequence that offers up some truly edge-of-your-seat action. These represent the best moments of the film- the moments where it rises above formula to become something with true emotion and spectacle.
The Finest Hours is also just a tiring film and a dull one. In some ways, it reminded me of The Revenant, except it doesn't feel as pompously over-the-top or gimmicky. And yet, the films still connect- they both pummel you with action to the point of sheer monotony. A good stretch of The Finest Hours is nothing more than just Bernie and his team driving the boat over a series of waves. The scene goes on for ages, as much more engaging and compelling action happens around the other characters. Sequences like that took me out of the movie and just wore me out, leaving me mostly uninterested in the characters and the story. The pacing in The Finest Hours is just truly awful, which is especially disappointing considering that Gillespie's Million Dollar Arm worked so naturally and effectively.
Disney's latest foray into sentimental family entertainment has a lot of promise, but a lack of dramatic momentum truly suffocates it. The Finest Hours is likely to embraced by certain audiences because of its wholesomeness, and yet, it will certainly fade from memory instantly. That's the most disappointing aspect of this film- it's completely disposable. Gillespie and the screenwriters took a famous and daring story and found a way to create a failed cross between procedural and character drama that falls flat. The Finest Hours is like a slowly deflating balloon- it starts out good, but with every single scene that arrives, the air just keeps getting sucked out of this flick.
THE FINAL GRADE: C+ (6/10)
Image Credits: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Screen Rant