Alone one night I had the hankering for a good, sweeping rescue movie so I started up The Finest Hours on Netflix.
The film stars Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, Eric Bana, and a host of other familiar faces. Chris Pine’s Bernie Webber is a Chief in the Coast Guard who failed to rescue the crew of a ship and that haunts him a little. At least Pine plays it that way and dialog tries to tell us that’s the case, but since this happens before the film I had no way to relate. He also starts a relationship with Holliday Grainger’s Miriam who is strong and independent, but fearful of the career Bernie has chosen. The film focus on this relationship at the beginning, before showing us the tragedy aboard the S.S. Pendleton that has shorn in half, trapping 32 members of the crew.
Eventually Bernie’s CO orders him to take small ship across the bar, which everyone knows is impossible, but I don’t because you haven’t shown me yet. Still it is an exciting scene and is fairly exciting. The rest of the rescue is fairly paint-by-the-numbers and then it ends, snatching a lot of the emotion from the part of the story.
The Finest Hours got me interested in the real story it is based on, but the film itself failed to capture the excitement, uncertainty, and character of such a daring rescue. While flat, the film it isn’t terrible, so the Finest Hour is something I suggest you watch when you’ve got nothing else to watch.