The Finest Hours Review: Rough Waters Ahead

This weekend, moviegoers will set sail for some rough waters should they go see The Finest Hours. [...]

TFH review

This weekend, moviegoers will set sail for some rough waters should they go see The Finest Hours. The latest film from Disney tells the heroic tale of Bernier Webber (Chris Pine) and his fellow U.S. Coast Guardsmen on their journey to rescue 32 shipwrecked sailors.

The movie sinks itself a bit by focusing scarcely on subplots involving Webber's wife Miriam (Holiday Grainger) rather than showing off the true terror of being on a sinking ship. As Webber and his team are fiercely maneuvering their boat through massive waves, we're abruptly taken back to land where things are safe but for some reason need to emphasize the dangers and side effects of loved ones journeying into the massive storm at sea.

Luckily for The Finest Hours, Chris Pine commands his way to a great performance. Perhaps it's most appreciable because it is not the typical charismatic role we've come to know from Pine. It's very different from any of his recent work. Instead of charming his way out into the Atlantic, Pine's Webber subtly and humbly rounds up a team, all the while trying to find his own confidence and following orders. Much like Webber's real-life heroics, Pine's performance is something to be admired, even if the script rarely gave him chances to shine.

Already out at sea, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) has to rally his crew of faces which will make you say, "I know that actor!" and he does just that. Still, it is never nearly as edge-of-your-seat thrilling as Titanic was during it's peril, nor does the movie make you care for its characters in such a way. The lack of character shouldn't be chalked up to the actors, though. Each of them, from Affleck to Ben Foster to Kyle Gallner to Michael Raymond-James, made the most of the emotion-less script they were given.

What hurt The Finest Hours the most was it's darkness. No, it isn't a dark movie tonally, but for some reason the film was screened in 3-D. In order to be able to see what was going on on the extremely dark screen, I removed my glasses to watch the blurry screen without the glasses' tint in hopes of actually catching what was happening. On top of darkness was a frustrating audio mix (props to Carter Burwell for a great score, though). When Pine and Affleck were yelling to their crew mates their voices were very audible. It's as if the audio mixer raised the volume of the storm's sound effects and then compressed the entire movie to one level, lowering the voice audio too low and making the storm's ferocity an average level sound.

We have to give it this though - the visual effects were impressive. It's a shame they were so hard to make out at times. The halved freighter looked fantastic, as did Webber's tiny rescue boat as it ventured across "the bar" off the coast of Massachusetts.

At no point is The Finest Hours very much fun or entertaining. It packs a touch of intensity but never any sense of real danger. A movie which could have been very inspirational fails to deliver any emotion or reason to cheer.

Bottom Line: Impressive performances don't help The Finest Hours to entertain, grip, or inspire with 3-D only making a dark screen darker. 4.5/10