In a world where reboots and remakes are the latest trend, going to the movie becomes predictable. You find yourself watching the same movies you did as a child (Pete’s Dragon and Ghostbusters) or the latest superhero/villian movie that all revolves around the same exact universe as the last. Original movies are dead in an age where original content is so deeply desired.
Films have not changed much in the time of history. They revolve around the same good vs evil, next big star, underdog victory and star-crossed lovers stories, but it almost seems like Hollywood has given up on creating original, new live-action films. xOne film in the year 2016 stands out among the rest: The Finest Hours.
Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine (This Means War & Star Trek), serves on the coast guard in a little town on the coast. Living in a town where nothing changes or ever happens, Bernie begins talking to a young lady named Merriam, played by Holliday Grainger (Jane Eyre & Cinderella), over the phone. After 4 weeks of these mysterious phone conversations, they agree to meet. In a whirlwind relationship, Merriam proposes they get married. After some convincing, Bernie agrees. But the day after her proposal, Bernie is sent out on a rescue mission to save a sinking ships crew. Bernie and his 3 crewmates set sail into the heart of the storm in a suicide mission to find a ship floating amongst the vast sea. Will they actually be able to find the ship and its crew? Or will they themselves join the crew at the bottom of the ocean?
Let’s just start with the title. What a great title! Whoever named this film deserves all the credit — okay well maybe not all the credit, but they sure deserve an award for the best title to be released in the last year. This told me absolutely nothing about the movie, but it did suggest bravery, heroics, and life changing hours of someone’s life. I probably would have picked this film just because of its title. I however needed the cover to convince me as well at how good this film was going to be, and both the title and cover were a pretty spot on representation of the film itself. Appearance really do matter some times as you can see by my shallow methods of picking out a film.
However, Chris Pine name being plastered on the cover and along with the top bill listings almost made me put this back. Now, nothing against his acting because he’s a pretty good actor, but I do get tired of seeing his face on a lot of different things. He tends to play one type of character and has one of those Kierra Knightly faces where you can only really see them as that one notable pop culture role they landed that one time ages ago. Contrary to my original stigma toward him though, he impressed me in this film. He really just became a whole new actor to me. He had depth. He had heart. He had emotions. He just really blew me away by not being his normal Chris Pine self. Honestly, this may be one of his best roles yet.
Still, he was not even the stand out actor in this movie. Holliday Grainger just killed her role. She placed a lot of raw emotion on the film and stepped into a role that may not come across as well if played wrong. She was this spunky, straight forward girl in a time where that was not acceptable. While it would have been easy to hold back in a such a intimidating role, she really just put it out there and let emotions engulf the worried lover role.
As always with most life and death or dramatic films, this soundtrack is just gorgeous and honestly probably built over half the emotion the viewer feels watching. The sound designers really out did themselves. The music was placed so well — or removed where needed — , and they really embellished the sounds necessary to create such a dramatic feel. Like the last 5 minutes of American Sniper, the sound designers took perfect advantage of cutting the sound to build suspense of an emotional moment in The Finest Hour.
There were some moments with the cinematography where I would’ve changed things. I probably would have just not used slo-mo sequences. They definitely can add drama to a shock or enhance how the viewer perceives a scene, but the over use of it among films just really is getting over done. Sherlock Holmes did it and went so well that now it has to be in every film. No. Holmes found a way to use it to reveal the interior dialogue Sherlock experiences during a fight or that specific scene. It does not need to be used during every dramatic scene to embellish the danger or chaos erupting around the actors.
There was also shockingly no nudity in this film which was actually very refreshing for a modern film. I have no problem watching a film with it, but sometimes it is nice to not have it and remember that sex is not necessary for a great film. There is minimal swearing and stuck pretty true to the time period around which it takes place. Overall, a great film, highly recommended for families looking for clean material for family night, and just a hot pick for 2016.