When it comes to rescue mission films, it’s sometimes hard to strike the right balance. “The Finest Hours” has a strong cast and takes on a very traditional form of entertainment, and while the CGI is impressive and the quiet romance between the film’s couple sweet, the drama just doesn’t strike the right amount of inspiration or thrills.
Based on true events, “The Finest Hours” is set in the ’50s and before getting into the action, sets up the relationship between Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a coast guard, and Miriam (Holliday Grainger), who go on their first date and get engaged months later. Before Bernie can ask for his boss’s (Eric Bana) permission, the Coast Guard receive an alert that a freighter, headed by Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), has been stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean amid a powerful storm that has damaged and is sinking the ship. Bernie and two of his colleagues venture out into the dark abyss with only a speed boat and hope to guide them. But is that enough for the daring rescue to be successful?
“The Finest Hours” is a quiet and less testosterone-fueled film of heroics. What I mean by that is that the characters perform a daring rescue and it doesn’t involve the stereotypical or excessive display of masculinity that you may find in action films. The romance between Pine and Grainger’s characters is sweet even when a lot of the film takes place in the middle of the ocean.
The CGI is very well done and the ocean is both breathtaking and scary in the middle of the dark. This isn’t director Craig Gillespie’s (“Million Dollar Arm”) first foray into true event storytelling, but it is his most ambitious one so far. But just like the aforementioned film, “The Finest Hours” is meant to be inspiring, but it’s ultimately an average film that doesn’t strike the right balance of thrilling or daring that it’s surely meant to. The events are more phenomenal than the film itself is and perhaps too tame for it to be a rescue worth seeing.