“In The Coast Guard They Say You Go Out, They Don’t Say You Gotta Come Back…”
Based upon “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue” by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman, Craig Gillespie’s The Finest Hours is a film that intends to be as gripping and wet-soaked as the shores of Cape Cod but ultimately comes off as more of a damp squib, with a cast including Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Eric Bana not enough to save it from the pit of mediocrity it safely floats upon before inevitably sinking into the realms of history. Much like the true-life tale, an anecdote I’m sure incredibly popular and well versed between the secular, sea-wise clans of the U.S. Coast Guard, The Finest Hours is a movie that has somewhat been hidden under the radar and away from the cinematic masses, with not even a trailer being in sight within my many ventures to the world of cine over the course of the past few months or so, and with this in mind, the sheer lack of advertisement and press-hounding may indeed result in the film not exactly finding a key audience. Were it a more intriguing tale of survival in line with other sea-faring adventures such as Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi, The Perfect Storm and even, see it to believe it, Titanic, perhaps The Finest Hours could have been the riveting adventure it perhaps wanted to be seen as.
Adding to the mediocrity is the fundamental saccharin sweet nature of the movie, with the influence of Disney being particularly noticeable within scenes that not only encourage the burning sensation of a face-palm, but also result in either a painful palpitation of a cringe-induced stasis or a desire to swiftly stick fingers down your throat in order to release the sickly build-up of Disney-induced diseases. Aside from the land of over-sentimentality, award for most unintentional psycho, co-dependant girlfriend of the year has to go to Holliday Grainger for her role as Chris Pine love interest, Miriam Webber, a role which could easily be seen as a mid-20th century portrayal of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Seriously, if you aren’t put off by the possibility of a creepy girlfriend by The Finest Hours, then nothing will. In a nutshell therefore, The Finest Hours sure ain’t the film it would love to be, with a sheer lack of threat or suspense killing the film stone dead, a film which requires such in order to be seen as truly worthwhile. See it in a Blockbuster near you. Oh wait, this isn’t 2003. Just catch it when you can, but don’t rush to see it.
Overall Score: 5/10
It’s not rocket science, the trailer and the films name really do make the outlining plot obvious. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the majority of the movie. Presented as an all American patriotic war film based on a true story, but the Lone Survivor is something far bigger. Based on the operation Red Wings, a 4 team squad have to take down a high profile Taliban target. With no comms, the strike team find there cover blown with no support or commanding orders. Left alone, it’s a right for survival which costs the lives of 3 of the squad leaving only Mark Wahlberg’s Marcus Luttrell to fend for himself.
The story is great. Once again, I’m not versed into the ins and outs of what actually happened and expect the odd embellishment from time to time, but there were a few bits that I was a little saddened by. With a lack of character development throughout, the death of the soldiers do very little to cause an emotional response. Running up to the outbreak of violence, characters are introduced but the movement is incredibly slow. Characters we meet are completely irrelevant and hold no emotion value while in this time, they should have focused on character progression rather than a slew of names and faces. One piece I really enjoyed was the representation of the Afghan people. Moving away from a typical “everyone of them is involved with the Taliban” approach, and taking a positive view and portraying it to a world through a form of media that normally attacks Afghanistan.
As the movie represented itself as an action movie, it’s important to critique this. However, the first thing that I would like to talk about is the use of armour. I understand that they are given Kevlar armour which is supposed to withstand quite the impact, yet it appears that it does very little to stop a bullet when these guys get shot to shit. Now that is out of the way, the action is brutal. There is no other word to describe it. The wounds look real and the deaths are mortifying. One particular shot sits with me and will do for quite some time is the killing of one of the soldiers. After running dry on ammo and suffering multiple gun shot wounds, he props himself up against a tree. The shot expands to center his limp body. As he struggles for breath, Taliban draw closer and aim. Firing two shots that rip through the tree above his head, he doesn’t flinch. The final shot hits Axe (Ben Foster) in the head and sends his head back into the tree only to drop forward seconds later. The lingering shot was amazing. Yet, for a movie at 15+ of age, it seems a little much. With action comes sound. With war comes loud noises. Microphones must have been peaking, at points it scares the living shit out of me because it’s so sudden and really aided in immersing into the movie.
The movie is wonderful. Without digging into everything else too deeply, the acting was alright and visually it was gorgeous apart from the slow-mo team jump which felt generic and cheesy. But otherwise, Lone Survivor deserves a solid 8 out of 10. It’s a great piece of entertainment and deserves a watch from anyone interested in the conflict and to any ladies out there, Taylor Kitsch was massive and Wahlberg didn’t steal all of the screen time!
PS – Another short review as I’m in a race to catch up with The Walking Dead…So. Damn. Good.