Craig Gillespie, director of the 2011 Fright Night remake helms Disney’s ‘The Finest Hours’, an incredibly heroic action drama based on the real-life events of the revered 1952 Coast Guard rescue.
Selling a film based on a true story could become a bit of a task for filmmakers, and The Finest Hours might just be evidence for such. The movie’s title is a complete irony and the film falls flat on its face when talking about bringing in a convincing translation of factual information to the silver screen, and is ultimately brings us to its zones of deception with its depiction of seemingly life-threatening situations its characters are put into. Due to a largely to a huge mistake in regards to the film’s heavy utilization of CGI to capture the courageous rescue and the men’s tragedies, it wasn’t quite able to cater in”the finest hours” it wanted to offer to its audience. It was almost as if the men we saw onscreen weren’t really fighting for their lives since they looked like they were just simply moving in the background of some fakery that wants itself to be perceived as something else that is more along the lines of realism just like it so foolishly suggests. It so turns out that the raging seas and the high tides only served as visual amazement, and not something that should have added to the feeling of danger and fear that the men had in mind. More so, the film plays things in the zone of regularity, and it didn’t even quite bother to make at least some favorable bold turns to save it from itself.
Well, not only that, but it also wasn’t able to balance out the two stories of bravery it carries in its hands. Both stories are different in a way, but they still have something in common. Among both sub-stories, one involves love and it itself it looks tragic already just by looking at the nearly forced relationship Chris Pine’s Bernie is having with her wife. Their virtually emotionless bond that they show makes both characters’ worrying for one another less meaningful than it strived to become. At one point, the movie even wants us to feel sad and sorry for the both of them, yet we just couldn’t feel any sentiment whatsoever rushing in due to the fact of the film not even caring for us to spend at least a little more time in getting to know more about them before cutting to the big scenes. Thankfully though, Chris Pine and Casey Affleck both bore decent enough performances to save the film from completely sinking down. The other sub-story plays a huge key role but it didn’t really live out its duty either. The big picture involving the stranded seamen is what I’m referring to, and though the film shows some nice camaraderie amidst times of danger, seeing the humanity within them was still a little hard to feel because the film almost fully ignores that notion as it exchanges it for the “epic tragedy” that it so handsomely shows. It makes the film’s entire point of saluting lionhearted individuals almost close to a result in terms of resemblance. Much so that the supposed “spirit” that should be there feels so lifeless and renders the dire situations almost weightless.
The acts of bravery that the men committed are supposedly admirable but frankly, there simply wasn’t any much reason for them to look like such since they looked more like additional fluff than real, struggling human beings. The film’s depiction of the men’s struggle was indeed having a hard time in being credible, and it has something to do with it almost being a fabrication for the sake of entertainment. With that, it wasn’t quite able to harness the thrills and inspiring spirit it sought to attain. Furthermore, they weren’t even rewarded with moments where they could have really shone. Though it rightfully focused on the captain of their ship, it still would have been neat to see some of the background characters getting a little taste of the spotlight. Specially considering that it might have saved the film from becoming a little too inert and dull at most. In conclusion, The Finest Hours was a decent film for its kind but still, it capsized due to large flaws in relation to being a believable depiction of a a fearless real-life event.
* The Finest Hours opens in Philippine cinemas on March 2, 2016 from Walt Disney Studios.