Tony's Take

The Finest Hours


The Finest Hours poster

We All Live or We All Die

“The Finest Hours” follows the incredibly true story about a pair of oil tankers (SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton) that broke in half during a violent blizzard off the coast of Cape Cod and the death-defying rescue that came along with it in 1952.  Those on-duty at the Chatham Coast Guard station were preparing for the blizzard by tying-up boats at the dock when a call came over the radio saying a T2 oil tanker had been split in two; resulting in the senior Guardsmen being sent to their rescue.  Our main protagonist Bernie Webber is still at the station when a second call comes over the radio; another T2 oil tanker has been split in half by this deadly storm.  As the most senior Guardsman still at Chatham, Bernie assembles a crew consisting of himself, another Guardsman, and two seamen; as they have been given the mission of saving the crew aboard the SS Pendleton.  The rest of the film follows their daring rescue attempt, which is one of the most courageous and heroic rescues in the history of the United States Coast Guard!

Chris Pine stars as the film’s lead, Bernie Webber.  Pine does an excellent job conveying the emotions, but his delivery seems a little forced at times.  Holliday Grainger plays Bernie’s fiancée Miriam; and the two share excellent chemistry together.  Casey Affleck plays one of the heroes aboard the SS Pendleton, Ray Sybert.  Ben Foster plays the other Guardsman in Webber’s rescue crew, Richard Livesey.  Kyle Gallner played the engineman for the rescue boat, Andy Fitzgerald.  John Magaro played the seaman on-board the rescue boat, Irving Maske.  Eric Bana played the Chief of Chatham Coast Guard, Daniel Cluff.  Rachel Brosnahan plays the widow of a former Guardsman, Bea Hansen.  Abraham Benrubi plays a chef aboard the SS Pendleton, Tiny Myers.  Michael Raymond-James also has a role as one of the SS Pendleton’s crew.  Graham McTavish, Josh Stewart, Keiynan Lonsdale, Benjamin Koldyke, and John Ortiz have small roles in the film as well.

As a rare January treat, “The Finest Hours” manages to tell its tale while holding you close; leaving you at the edge of your seat and in awe and disbelief.  First of all, the film’s large cast works because everyone has their own line or mannerisms that makes them memorable.  As expected, the two main leads are out in-front as Pine and Grainger share beautiful chemistry, making their love undeniably believable.  The film also excels due to its incredible true story of bravery, selflessness, and heroism.  There have been a few films based-on the United States Coast Guard, but it is truly a wonder how it took this long to bring this miraculous true story to the big screen.  “The Finest Hours” is not just a well-acted film, but it is beautifully-shot as well.  The scenes on the water are breathtaking and you find yourself wondering how they made it look so authentic; especially for a film taking-place in 1952!  Now while “The Finest Hours” is entertaining and well-acted, it still has its faults.  Much of the dialogue feels forced and unnatural, which occasionally distracts you during the scene.  Another problem is the film’s pacing issues; as the beginning is almost a crawl.  There a few questionable editing areas as well, such as scene and camera transition that make the film feel a little bit choppy.  But I am happy to tell you there is more good than bad here and “The Finest Hours” is definitely worth the enduring journey!  The film has a run time of 117 minutes and occasionally drags during the beginning, but it sets-up for an absolutely incredible finale.  January is typically known as the month where films go to die, but “The Finest Hours” is trying to change that stigma!

“The Finest Hours” follows the incredible true story of a US Coast Guard rescue during a blizzard in 1952.  The film features a miraculous story, strong performances, and realistic visuals to help tell the tale.  If you are heading to the theater this weekend, go see “The Finest Hours”!!    


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THE FINEST HOURS is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril.  In theaters January 29th!

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