The Finest Hour

16:00 February 01, 2016
By: David Vicari

*** out of ****

In my review of The Martian, I described it as a conventional but well-made “rescue” movie in the vein of Apollo 13 (1995). The same can be said about The Finest Hours, and like Apollo 13, this one is based on a true incident. The Finest Hours tells the story of one of the most daring Coast Guard rescues in history.

In February of 1952, during one of the worst blizzards to hit New England, an oil tanker is ripped in half off the coast of Cape Cod. It's up to four men in a small boat to battle through 70-foot high waves to get to the rapidly sinking tanker in time to rescue 32 stranded sailors.

Put in charge of the rescue is Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a shy Coast Guardsman who doesn't seem like the “take charge” type. The same can be said of Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), the tanker's engineer who the crew looks to for leadership.

The Finest Hours is more clinical than emotional, but emotional support is there in the character of Webber's best girl, Miriam (Holliday Grainger looking absolutely stunning dolled up in '50s attire). Because Grainger has a strong screen presence, she shines through in the generally thankless “worried wife” role.

Digital effects are employed very effectively, making the scenes on the wild sea tense and exciting. So, yes, The Finest Hours is a good, extremely well-made “rescue” movie. 

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