Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD May 24, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
This heroic action-thriller is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. In 1952, a massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, ripping a T-2 oil tanker in half and trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. When word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard, four men led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) set out in a 12-seat boat on a daring mission to rescue the stranded men, braving freezing cold, 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds, and guided by Webber’s vow that “We all live, or we all die.” Packed with thrilling, larger-than-life action and anchored in a belief in the strength of the human spirit, The Finest Hours is a triumph.
Based on the incredible true story, ‘The Finest Hours’ tells the true tale of what is still considered to this day to be the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. Following the events which occurred in 1952 the film views the chaotic situation from multiple perspectives, primarily those of Bernie Webber and the Coast Guard rescue team and that of the surviving members of the crew trapped within what remains of the T-2 oil tanker. Featuring bravery and heroes on both sides, ‘The Finest’ Hours’ recreates this remarkable true story and captures the power and struggles within the lives of those involved with the event on all sides.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) from a script by Scott Silver (8 Mile), Paul Tamasy (The Fighter) and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) which was based on the book by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias respectively, Gillespie does a solid job at the helm of ‘The Finest Hours’ capturing the era, intensity and heart with near perfection. The film also owes a great deal of credit to the incredibly talented individuals who comprise the cast including Chris Pine (Star Trek: Into Darkness), Casey Affleck (Interstellar), Ben Foster (Lone Survivor), Eric Bana (Munich), Holliday Grainger (TV’s The Borgias), John Ortiz (Fast & Furious), Josh Stewart (The Collector), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and more, all of whom deliver solid, if not outstanding performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Finest Hours’ is a magnificent film that manages to capture the time period of the early 1950’s with nearly impeccable accuracy, while never detracting from the gripping and emotionally powerful true story it tells. Director Craig Gillespie delivers an impressive film here not only in the details and surroundings, but in the grace with which it consistently manages to capture the intensity, beauty and raw emotion with apparent ease, truly taking you along on this journey from both sides of the unbelievable experience. I would definitely have to give ‘The Finest Hours’ one of my highest recommendations, this is a heartfelt, gorgeous and overall impressive film guided with passion from a talented director and featuring a cast that is nothing short of spectacular. ‘The Finest Hours’ is one of those rare movies likely to be appreciated in at least one manner or another by nearly anyone willing to give it a shot.
Overall, ‘The Finest Hours’ is a spectacular film in nearly every way. It’s intense, gorgeous and breathtaking both in its intensity and the immaculate recreation of the time and all of its minor details that are always on full display throughout. Beautifully guided by director Craig Gillespie and complimented by a powerhouse cast including Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and plenty more highly capable and talented folks, I would highly recommend checking out ‘The Finest Hours’ for everyone who appreciates either quality filmmaking or a riveting true story captured with true passion and respect.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Finest Hours’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a sharp, detailed and impressive video presentation from start to finish with no notable faults of any kind to be found within. It holds up admirably even during the numerous fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is outstanding, providing a clean, discrete and wildly aggressive audio presentation that provides quite the experience in itself. It constantly utilizes all seven available channels to fully immerse the viewer within the harrowing events, aggressively sending rain, sleet, waves and plenty more throughout the various speakers, while managing to never result in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a truly impressive 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that is almost guaranteed to thrill both the casual viewer and audiophile alike.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Finest Hours’ includes a couple of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 4 minutes combined), in addition to a number of short Featurettes including behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments from the cast and crew, along with the real life Coast Guard, those involved with the novel from which the movie was based and more; the included Featurettes are: ‘Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story’ (running approximately 14 minutes), ‘Brotherhood’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Two Crews’ (2 minutes), ‘What Is Your Finest Hour?’ (1 minute), and ‘The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard’ (2 minutes).