The Finest Hours (Review)

For those who haven't watched the trailer have a look here.

I was first introduced to this film not through the trailer but through an American YouTuber names CarlieStylez (Carlie Wood nee Butler). She was invited by Disney for a day's training with the coast guard. Both her and her new husband are very much interested in fitness and health and wellbeing so it was the perfect advertisement for them. Click here to see the video.

So after watching that, I was intrigued but not amazed. My dad was the one who really wanted to see the movie and so I happily obliged.

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal storm in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a graveyard.

In the early hours, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The heroes here aren't soldiers but small town coastguards on Cape Cod who embark on a seemingly suicidal mission to rescue the crew of a stricken tanker during a ferocious storm.

The film's main character, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), is a shy young coastguard. First seen going for a double date, he looks like a quintessential all-American boy. He may be handsome but he is worryingly modest and shy: "Shoulda' worn the other shirt," he nervously tells himself as he walks into the bar where he first sets sight on the beautiful and opinionated Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger).

The slow build up is clearly deliberate. On board the ship, initially nothing seems remotely amiss, as characters slap each other, sing songs or rest on their bunk beds. The action begins when the winds pick up, the storm begins and when trying to contact the Captain, there is no signal. After sending a messenger, the ship is discovered to have been clean broken in half. Knowing nothing about boats, I can't quite believe no one would notice that the ship has broken in half. Honestly?
From then it's a fight to survive. On land, the coast guard are forced out on a suicide mission while out in the middle of the ocean, it's a battle of power and authority. Two plans and men come into a crossfire as they try to persuade the rest of the men to pick a plan to prolong their lives.

From then it's a fight to survive. On land, the coast guard are forced out on a suicide mission while out in the middle of the ocean, it's a battle of power and authority. Two plans and men come into a crossfire as they try to persuade the rest of the men to pick a plan to prolong their lives.
I don't think this film was very well advertised in the UK. I think that the whole concept about the US Coast Guards are obviously a big deal in the US whereas I'd never heard of them before, so I didn't really get the whole hype about them. Throughout the movie, you defintely learn about the whole world of coast guards, not just from the perspective of the guards themselves who risk their lives daily but also from the families who have to be left behind while they're out there, not knowing if they will survive the night.
From that respect, this film was incredible. The acting was so perfect. I thought all the characters captured the 50s perfectly, with both the mannerisms and accents.

On top of that I thought it explored the whole feminism issues perfectly. Bernie's lover is a strong woman and unlike the other women, she takes charge of the situation and demands attention. Back in the days, this was unheard of. There was a really powerful scene where she keeps repeating herself over and over again. She never raises her voice or becomes angered, she patiently repeats herself until she is forced out.
The key to this movie is the graphics; they are sublime. I am so glad I went to see this movie at the cinema on the big screen because it was such a perfect movie for the big screen, I almost believed that the film was being recorded live. That's how believable it was. The waves and action scenes were incredible. From both the emotion of the actors, to the waves crashing, to the boats going on water, to the storm itself. I don't think they could have captured it any better if they tried.
I learnt so much from this movie. Chris Pine - Bernie - played an eye-opening character. I learnt so much about the way to drive a boat in the ocean. This may sound stupid but I'd thought you could just go straight into a wave, full power. But no. Bernie times the throttle accelerations perfectly to be with the beat of the waves. The waves then force the boat horizontally. Before the next wave hits, the captain has to quickly steer to straighten the boat so it's vertically facing the wave before it reaches and spins the boat in it's frothy, folding mouth of the barrel.
The ending credits was pretty inspirational as it showed the actors alongside the pictures of the people that they played. All the black and white images from the day to see how they actually looked after the incredible ordeal that they went through. I was somewhat disappointed that someone or people were taking pictures during the evacuation however. There were pictures of the boat sinking, the people jumping off the rig and the coast guards steering the boat. I can't help but scream, why are you standing around taking pictures. I for one would either be helping catch people or just holding on for dear life.
One major flaw in the movie is that this is an oil rig that has supposedly broken in half. An oil rig containing water. But there is no oil in the water. There was no oil when the first half sunk and still no oil as the second one sinks. Clearly this is a fatal error from the film production because in the pictures in the credits, you can see a clear change of colour from the oil spill.

This movie was ridiculously awe inspiring and I for one, will be watching this movie again. Thoroughly enjoyable...even for a 'rom com' kind of girl.

A tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.

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