The Finest Hours is based on an incredible true story and I am really happy that Disney gave it the big screen treatment it deserves. It is an earnest adventure film that is loaded with nice people doing what they can to save others. Old school yarns like this are rare and I loved every second of it.
Here are five reasons why you should watch The Finest Hours.
1. It does a great job capturing the danger and skill of this daring rescue
In 1952, a massive sea tanker named the SS Pendleton split in half in the midst of a terrible nor'easter off the coast of Massachusetts. In any other circumstance the 30 men aboard would have disappeared into the sea. However, a tiny 36-foot Coast Guard ship piloted by four men defied all the laws of nature and rescued the stranded crew.
The Finest Hours is an incredibly earnest sea yarn that expertly captures the greatest small boat rescue ever. If it wasn't based on a true story I would've never believed that any of this could have happened. The fact that anyone survived is amazing and I have massive respect and admiration for everyone involved in the rescue.
2. The rescue scenes are wonderfully tense
Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Million Dollar Arm) does a fantastic job staging the rescues and action. You feel like you are in the boat and you can't help but marvel at the extraordinary feats that kept these people alive. You watch with your jaw agape as the waves crash into the boats and the cold rain pounds down on all the parties involved. The odds seemed impossible and the movie does a a great job putting you in the action and building wonderful suspense.
You need to watch this movie on the biggest screen possible because the rescue is truly epic. Gillespie needed over 1,000 special effect shots to get the waves right and his year molding the film in postproduction paid off. You actually start feeling cold and you wish you brought your raincoat into the cinema.
3. It is an unpretentious film that features good people doing good things
The Finest Hours is a nice rescue film that centers around good people doing what is right. The real life coastguard members never considered themselves heroes and thought their heroics were just another day on the job. There is something amazing about how brave and unselfish the men were.
I love when Disney focuses their attention on true stories. There is an earnestness to them and I am a big fan of Invincible, Cool Runnings, Miracle and Million Dollar Arm. What I appreciate the most is that Disney throws all their resources at ensuring that the brave men and women of these films get the big screen treatment they deserve. I guarantee that after watching The Finest Hours you will immediately want to read about what happened that night in 1952.
4. The actors didn't have to pretend that they were cold and miserable.
The Finest Hours was filmed on a massive set that housed an 800,000 gallon tank and full sized replica boats. The actors were constantly blasted by cold water and the conditions were cold, wet and tough. In an interview with Slash film Chris Pine explained why the performances seem to be so real.
“There was a particularly cold morning the other day and [it was] definitely the time where I could feel myself just about breaking,” Pine recalled, “and then you see Andy Fitzgerald who was actually out there on the boat and you shut up real fast, as we’re in dry suits and I have a heating shirt and the whole bit.” Plus, Gallner pointed out, there was a silver lining to these challenging conditions. “It kind of takes part of the acting out of it, because you can’t fake it,” he said. “I mean, you’re cold, you’re wet, and you’re kind of miserable.”
Casey Affleck also talked to Jimmy Kimmel about his time on set.
“It’s so bad that you kind of get used to it, you get hooked on it. I got hooked on it. And then after the movie’s over, I was taking cold showers in the morning. I needed it a little bit. Is that weird?
5. Casey Affleck steals the show
Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Holliday Grainger are all solid but Casey Affleck is the best part of The Finest Hours. He has a quiet confidence and it is easy to see why the 30 men aboard the Pendleton rallied around him. His character knows the ship well and his innovative decisions bought them valuable time and saved a lot of lives.
It made me happy that Affleck was finally given the chance to shine in a big budget Disney film. He pulled off the hero role perfectly and I totally think he could headline future mainstream films.
Check out The Finest Hours in theaters now! It celebrates bravery and tells a fantastic story about men and women who won't give up.