When it comes to movies, when I see ‘Based on a True Story’ anywhere in the promotional material I tend to turn away. 9 times out of 10 they are based on sad, tragic stories and I ugly cry enough during sad fictional movies – I can’t deal with sad real life movies!
That being said, I actually wanted to watch The Finest Hours. Why?
I have loved this man since Star Trek and People Like Us. I make it a point to watch everything he is in. Since The Finest Hours just came out on Blu-ray I was excited to have the chance to receive a copy for review purposes.
As soon as the movie came I put it in, but within the first 10 minutes, I was bored and turned it off. The other night I forced myself to try again and this time, I made it through the slow opening to where it actually got good.
Okay, I’m not saying it starts off bad, it is just too slow for me; a lot of talking and very little action. I like movies that grab my attention right off the bat, and this just didn’t. It took effort for me to watch it the second time around but I am thankful that I did.
Before I get too far ahead of myself I want to share an abridged synopsis, without spoilers.
The cast: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, Eric Bana
The story: The Finest Hour is based on the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history, circa 1952.
A massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod and rips a T-2 oil tanker in half, leaving more than 30 sailors trapped inside the rapidly sinking stern.
The U.S. Coast Guard hears about the disaster and a team of 4, led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), embark on a daring rescue mission. They set out in a wooden, 12-seat boat in the freezing cold, braving 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds. Captain Webber guides the crew with his vow that “We all live, or we all die.”
My thoughts on The Finest Hours
Well, you already know what I thought of the first 10 minutes of the movie, but now let me tell you about the rest. Think a semi-lighter version of The Perfect Storm (that movie is the main reason I no longer watch ‘based on a true story’ movies). Both maritime, tragic true stories, only The Finest Hours has the Disney touch.
Epic effects and amazing cinematography combined with a wonderful director (Craig Gillespie) and cast are what truly brought this movie to life. The slow start really picks up and goes from a crawl to a jog, to a marathon sprint. In other words, the action gradually increases as the movie progresses, which I actually really liked.
What I really, really loved about this movie is the homage it pays to the Coast Guard. I have friends and family in (and retired from) the Coast Guard. So many people forget that the Coast Guard is part of the U.S. military too – and they have some pretty intense training! If you are or were a member of the Coast Guard I would like to humbly thank you for your service!
I think The Finest Hours would be great for history buffs, those with Coast Guard friends & family, and anyone with a passion for action films. It is definitely worth the watch and re-watch just in case you miss something the first time around.
AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE BERNIE WEBBER STORY – Visit the quaint and close-knit town of Chatham, and experience the events surrounding the most heroic Coast Guard rescue ever through the eyes of the people who witnessed them.
BROTHERHOOD – Cast members reflect on the bonds they forged during the shoot.
TWO CREWS – Chris Pine and Casey Affleck share insights into Bernie Webber and Ray Sybert, men who led their respective crews against all odds.
WHAT IS YOUR FINEST HOUR? – A Coast Guard member recounts an incredible rescue.
THE FINEST INSPIRATION: THE U.S. COAST GUARD Meet the people who put their lives on the line for others.
*Bonus Features may vary by retailer