What good is the strength of a human against gigantic ocean waves that can sweep you mercilessly to a drowning death?
Nothing, a fisherman advises Coast Guardsman Bernie Webber, telling him he’ would be wise to avoid sailing out to sea during a raging storm.
But Bernie (Chris Pine) is a man who follows orders, and when he is asked to rescue sailors from a sinking oil tanker, he goes.
Based on a true story, The Finest Hours depicts the epic small-boat rescue mission through three threads: Bernie and his three-member crew as they get tossed and smashed by ice-cold waves; oil tanker engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) and the rest of the surviving crew trying desperately to delay sinking; and Webber’s fiance Miriam (Holliday Grainger) as she worries for Bernie’s safety.
The deadly CGI waves combined with Carter Burwell’s hair-raising music make the ocean scenes particularly nail biting.
In all, it’s an entertaining film to watch. But it’s also easily forgettable. The script confines Pine’s performance, giving him few words and opportunities to portray Bernie’s inner fears with depth.
Despite being given a fair amount of screentime on their first date, Bernie’s relationship with Miriam also fails to touch heartstrings and her storyline becomes a distraction from the main action taking place at sea.