The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours

In Theatres: 
Jan 29, 2016

The sea can be a devastating and unrelenting force of nature. It doesn’t discriminate or yield to anyone, doing whatever its waves intend. Most of the time the ocean allows us to traverse across it, but there are occasions where we are reminded that it is in charge. The Finest Hours chronicles one such time when the sea claimed two oil tankers during a harsh winter storm and left their crews stranded and awaiting a nearly impossible rescue.


Bernard Webber (Chris Pine) is a member of the Coast Guard and oftentimes has to risk his life at sea trying to rescue stranded sailors. He’s good at his job but unfortunately not everyone always comes back alive. When one of the worst winter storms on record sinks two massive oil tankers, the Coast Guard sends Webber and a reluctant handful of others out to attempt a rescue. The harsh winds and crashing waves make it look like certain death, but if anyone can pull it off it’s Webber. Meanwhile the crew aboard the ship, which has been split in half by the ocean, are doing all they can to stay afloat long enough to be rescued. With the leadership of Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), they rig together a makeshift stern and plan to steer what’s left of the tanker as close to the shore as they can and hope rescue comes.


The true story behind The Finest Hours is thrilling, but the film’s presentation is mediocre at best. There’s too much going on and not enough to care about. At the top of it all is Casey Affleck and the crew members aboard the sinking oil tanker. They’re the most interesting, and I actually would have preferred to see the entire story revolve around their dire situation and using what little resources they have to survive.


Audiences are instead given a sappy Disney-style love story between Webber and his new fiance, Miriam (Holliday Grainger). He’s basically sent out to die on a rescue mission nobody believes is possible while she waits for him on shore. Pine himself isn’t even that interesting as a by-the-book member of the Coast Guard. It’s mostly just him and his crew getting pounded by wave after wave with darkness all around them. It’s hardly thrilling.


The Finest Hours is one of the unfortunately cases where the event it’s based upon is more interesting than the film itself. It’s a mediocre two hours at best, with a solid performance from Casey Affleck. Everything else is nearly forgettable.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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