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Drama - Survival

The Finest Hours (2016)


Duration 1h 57m Rating (UK) 12A
Source of story A book “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coastguard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue” by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias
Director Craig Gillespie
Writers/Script Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Starring Chris Pine, Casey Afleck, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger

Elevator Pitch: In a violent storm,  off New England in 1952, the T2 tanker Pendleton breaks in two, but the majority of the local Coastguard resources are already employed in another rescue. While the men in the after end of the tanker struggle to survive, the Coastguard at Chatham assemble a crew and dispatch a small cutter. They must first of all get over “the bar” , the shallows at the harbour entrance, which some expect to destroy the small craft, and then if they make it they must face raging seas, find the casualty and rescue the survivors.

Content: The guys volunter to do the job, the girlfriend of the coxswain goes to the Coastguard station and remonstrates with the commander, the small boat is thrown about in the violent storm but the coxswain, Bernie, stares resolutely through the windcreen while operating the throttle of the boat, and steering it adroitly. On the stern part of the tanker which has remained afloat the Chief Engineer organises jury steering and operates the engines to put the wreck ashore. With the small boat close up to the wreck the rescue is attempted.

A View: I tend to avoid nautical films, because as a former seafarer, either they annoy me or, if realistic, distress me. In this case the on shore drama was obviously a set-up in an effort to create dramatic effect and the extensive scenes of the small boat being slung about by the storm were obviously CGI, and I tired of Chris Pine, jaw clenched, staring through the windscreen. And finally during the extensive scenes of the activities in the engine room, I did not recognise anything, or understand what the hell they were trying to do. So without wanting to take anything away from the actual rescue which was without doubt extremely daring, this was an ill-judged recreation, and is not worth you time.

Additional Info: Due to the extensive CGI it is estimated to have cost $80 million, and did not anything like cover the expense of the production, never mind the additional publicity and all that.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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