The Finest Hours | Review

THE FINEST HOURS is the latest action movie from Disney, it has taken massive losses in the international box office and is touted at losing over $70mil on budget. And this is a total shame and I can only really blame it on Disney themselves, because the movie is good and they have pretty much done NO promotion or marketing on the movie until the last minute, it appears they wanted this film to sink, do the majors only promote animation and superhero movies now? THE FINEST HOURS is out now at most multiplexes, it is rated M and runs for 117mins, I enjoyed it but my mum thought it was the best film of the year (so far), and “a much better film than that SPOTLIGHT.”


The Finest Hours Movie Poster image



On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Mass., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Despite the ferocious weather, coxswain Bernie Webber takes three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew against seemingly impossible odds.

THE FINEST HOURS is based on a true story with the usual Hollywood embellishments and added drama. The rescue of the surviving crew from the SS Pendleton is still considered the greatest small boat Coast Guard rescue in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.

THE FINEST HOURS is basically THE PERFECT STORM meets THE GUARDIAN set in the 1950s with no helicopters. It is CGI heavy, action packed and has some damn fine performances and epic hero moments.


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The film starts setting up the characters and is typical Disney romantic drama in a 1950s period puff. It went on too long and both mother dearest and I were starting to wonder if it was going to kick in gear, mum’s words “I started wondering what you had taken me to.”

One thing that is drummed into you is that Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine, is a very shy and meek gentlemanly young guy in the Coast Guard, he does not stand up for himself and is clouded by a tragedy in the town’s past where quite a few town’s folk died in a huge storm that Webber could not rescue.

Webber meets the love of his life in the opening scenes, it appears they have met through a 1950s versions of Tinder and have been corresponding for a while, with this being their first physical meeting. The future Mrs Webber is played well from Holliday Grainger, she is an outsider to this dangerous ocean town of Chatham and has a lot to get used to. Her character is very likeable with bigger kahunas than Webber but is also very two dimensional.


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Hands down this is one of Chris Pine’s best performances. It is the most nuanced and deep character he has ever played and adds to his range of action star in STAR TREK movies and other similar witty comeback action movies. At first I was unnerved to see him play such a passive and submissive character but the more I saw of it the more I liked, it showed me he could actually act well, and the nuance of facial expressions and hand tremors and movements showed more in the story than the giant CGI waves.

Likewise Casey Affleck playing Ray Sybert, in typical Casey Affleck fashion the role was too easy for him, underplayed and brilliant as always, his accent, easiness and mild mannered heroism is something I would have liked more of in the movie.

Rounding out the great lead cast was Ben Foster as Richard Livesey, a grossly underused actor in the film who’s role was purely one of support. Foster is one of the better actors of this current generation and to underuse him borders on crime. Every scene you see him in leaves you wanting more, and this is a good thing.

Eric Bana also has a role as Daniel Cluff, the boss of the Coast Guard branch who appears a little out of his league, not knowing the local waters and who sends out Webber and his crew to possible death getting out of the local current heavy, big wave, sand bars.


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When the action starts it doesn’t relent for about an hour and it is brilliant edge of your seat stuff, we both loved it, the cinematography is handled well from Javier Aguirresarobe (BLUE JASMINE, THE OTHERS). Craig Gillespie (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) does a great job directing THE FINEST HOURS, the CGI work is admirably generated and the movie cinematically captures the innocence of the post war 1950s in this ocean town.

In Disney fashion the movie is very vanilla. It is always innocent and proper and oft times predictable which makes it great for an entire family movie but if they showed us more flashes of car headlights before they actually used the headlights to light the shore I would have screamed, it was that golden Disney hero moment that is meant to make you all warm and fuzzy on the inside but made me roll my eyes.

Overall it was what it was and did it well, a mid-range Disney water action film loosely based on a true story, it is Disney at its best of olde. I liked it enough that I will watch it again and it may join the JK library.



3 and a Half Pops


4 and a Half Pops



 is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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