Friday, January 29, 2016

The Finest Hours [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (4+ Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (P. Sobczynski) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review  

The Finest Hours [2016] (directed by Craig Gillespie, screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson based on the book [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Casey Sherman [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] and Michael G. Tougias [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) tells the story of a truly stunning still "Greatest Generation-ish" U.S. Coast Guard rescue of the greater part of the crew of a U.S. oil tanker that split in two off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts during a powerful Nor'easter storm back in 1952.

Many viewers will marvel at the courage, selflessness, ingenuity and sense-of-duty of the people of the time: A tanker ship SPLIT IN TWO out there 20-30 miles off of the coast of Cape Cod.  Yet the sailors in THE HALF (of the SHIP THAT SPLIT IN TWO) that DID NOT SINK IMMEDIATELY had the coolness, skill and ingenuity to COME-UP _with a plan_ to USE what was LEFT IN THAT HALF of the ship (that didn't not sink) to keep themselves alive.

I will freely say that I WOULD HAVE DIED (!).  I do think of myself as a pretty smart guy, even one who comes up with remarkable ideas under pressure, BUT HONESTLY MY HATS OFF TO THAT REMAINING CREW led by ship's engineer Ray Sybert (played in the film with magnificent coolness by Casey Affleck) that really used a ship that was, well ... HALF GONE, to help save themselves.

Then, THE COURAGE OF THE FOUR MAN COAST GUARD CREW, led by Bernie Webber (played again magnificently by Chris Pine) who took out a 35 ft boat into SEAS WITH WAVES EASILY TWICE THAT SIZE to search for that broken ship EVEN AFTER LOSING THEIR OWN COMPASS while passing through "The Bar" (basically where the waves break, and the 35 foot boat was tossed about like a loose surf-board) to get out to the open seas.  THE COURAGE IN THAT IS JUST STUNNING.

Why would these guys do this?  Risk their lives for the sake of others who they did not know and were not necessarily even going to find, much less find alive?

Well Bernie explains (in a line that many Readers here will know from the film's trailer): "The Coast Guard tells us that we have to go out.  It doesn't tell us that we have come back in..."

This is just a remarkable story of selflessness, ingenuity and courage that does challenge us today to Step-up as well.  Great, great job!

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