‘The Finest Hours’ a Fine But Forgettable Rescue Film

finest hours 2Well if “Titanic” didn’t make me want to never work on a boat, this sure did.

“The Finest Hours” stars Chris Pine (I guess they should’ve called the movie “The *Pinest* Hours,” huh? [clears throat]) as Bernie Webber, who in 1952 set out on an improbable rescue mission to save the crew of an oil tanker that split in half in the middle of a storm. Based on a true story, the film also stars Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana. Craig Gillespie directs.

This film has been the butt of a joke between me and my friend ever since the trailer dropped last July, due in large part to the amount of accents. It is set in Massachusetts, so pretty much everyone is doing their best Bah-ston accent, save for Eric Bana who is doing some sort of southern accent (I think?). All this prompted us to refer to the film, for the past seven months, as “Bad Accents: The Movie” (yes, we think we’re hilarious). Turns out our joke wasn’t completely unjustified, as the accents in “Finest Hours” can be a bit distracting if not inaudible at times. When you get passed the dialect, what is left is a serviceable, albeit forgettable as anything, rescue film.

Right off the bat, the two leads, Chris Pine and Casey Affleck, are as charming and likable as anything, and play pretty much the same character. Both men aren’t well respected among their respective crew and follow protocol despite thinking their idea is better, however when the crisis arises they’re the ones who take charge.

There are several very intense and well-directed scenes, as well as some true moments of awe. The shot that reveals the oil tanker having just broken in half actually made my jaw drop. And when Pine and his crew are trying to drive through waves the size of buildings in a boat designed to fit 12 people, you realize the sheer scope of their situation.

However it is the moments in between that really bog down the film. Pine’s fiancé (Holliday Grainger) is constantly running around trying to get him called back in, and all it really does is add to the running time and make her character nothing more than the worried wife (or, you know, fiancé). For example, she goes into the Coast Guard office and demands that Pine be called back in, and then proceeds to say “please call them back” ten times before finally leaving (not exaggerating).

Yes the storm is bad and his mission is likely all for naught, but to have her walk in and demand members of the Coast Guard not do their job is just unrealistic. Every character asks her, “are you going to get scared every time her goes out to sea?” and she never gives an answer, nor does the film, so all her nagging really is pointless.

A lot of the scenes on the oil tanker post-wreck are also a bit repetitive, as it is one of the crew members telling Affleck that his idea won’t work, only to have it work, but then lead to his methods still being questioned. That is rinsed and repeated two or three times.

“The Finest Hours” is a fine way to spend two hours (see what I did there?) but it is one of those films you appreciate more than you enjoy. There are some aspects and scenes in the film that did have me entertained or on the edge of my seat, but for every one of those there was one that had me leaning back just waiting for time to go by. If you like old-fashioned movies and just want bare-minimum thrills, then “The Finest Hours” should satisfy. All others may be left wanting more.

Critics Rating: 6/10

finest hours

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