The Finest Hours is the big screen adaptation of the Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman novel of the same name. Based on a true story, the film chronicles the daring Coast Guard rescue attempt of the SS Pendleton after it was split apart in a violent Nor’Easter storm.
The Good: The Finest Hours is at its best when it focuses on the rescue mission. Whether it’s the climactic rescue sequence or the Coast Guard team barreling their way through massive storm waves, it is the only time the film feels even remotely engrossing. While under-utilized, Ben Foster and Eric Bana give good supporting performances. Casey Affleck gives a strong performance as Ray Sybert, the senior office on board the SS Pendleton in charge of keeping his crew alive.
The Bad: The dialogue, editing, cinematography, and direction all feel clunky. There are moments where characters will be speaking to one another and then, after a brief awkward pause, the movie cuts to the next scene. The direction is also off-putting as well as for much of the first half of the movie, we’re tossed back and forth between the love story between Chris Pine’s Bernie and Holliday Grainger’s Miriam, the impending storm, and the crew of the doomed SS Pendleton.
There is also very little intrigue. Numerous times in the film, one character will say something can’t be done and then moments later, that impossible action is overcome and achieved. With that sort of pattern, there really aren’t any high stakes or emotional involvement that build up. Instead, we just chug along hitting the expected plot points until Chris Pine pulls his boat and the survivors back into the marina for a happy ending.
Also, the 3D is unnecessary and irritating. Skip it.