by Adam Riske
What I mean by the lead sentence is that The Finest Hours is a workmanlike sea-faring adventure that is certainly OK but nothing altogether memorable. Ever since seeing this movie I’ve been calling it the “It’s Fine”-est Hours. While not without some aspects to champion, the movie on the whole doesn’t quite work. Curiously enough, it has more to do with its technical aspects than storytelling ones. This doesn’t often happen. Most film crews are so talented and skilled that even when a movie doesn’t work, it’s usually not because of poor filmmaking but rather an inferior creative vision or poor execution. In the case of The Finest Hours, simply put, the storm looks so phony that it becomes impossible to become invested in the drama of the story.
The plot in brief: The Finest Hours tells the story of a blizzard that struck the East Coast which ripped an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod in half. Four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the crew of the rapidly-sinking vessel.
But, as I alluded to before, the action sequences are pretty terrible. They look and feel completely unrealistic and inorganic. Cast members are clearly on real boats in front of green screens while water rains down on them and as a result hardly any of them seem as scared or in-duress as they should be. Most of the storm sequences are monotonous (how many times can we see a small boat just barely make it over a big wave?) and the wide shots are all clearly CGI. I understand that this is probably the only way to make this movie and have it not be a $100 million plus production but still…it just looks so damn fake.
On second thought; maybe I’m being too hard on the likes of Wolfgang Petersen’s sea movies like Poseidon, The Perfect Storm and Das Boot. All of those are better than The Finest Hours.