The Finest Hours (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, November 2016) There shouldn’t be a thin line between harrowing and boring, but The Finest Hours certainly does its damnedest to find one. From the first dull moments presenting a glossy vision of wholesome 1950s America (based on a true story), it’s obvious that this film is aimed at a particular audience, nostalgic for a simpler time when technology didn’t get in the way of pure determined heroism. The story of how a plucky under-equipped Coast Guard crew managed to rescue thirty-some sailors after their ship was split apart by a winter storm, The Finest Hours hits is best moments in its spectacular depiction of the catastrophe, of the almost impossible odds their rescuers faced and the numerous moments of action faced by the protagonists. (Chris Pine is also very good as the hero of the film.) Unfortunately, much of this excitement is quickly smothered by syrupy interludes that frame the action in a too-cute depiction of the 1950s American East Coast, in-between extended romantic drama, quickly extinguished interpersonal conflict and other dull moments. The Finest Hours is remarkably boring for a film that shows a merchant ship being ripped in half, and that’s the kind of impression that doesn’t make for a positive review. I’m sure that there is an audience for this film, and that audience looks a lot like one that goes for films that play on AMC on November 11. But for people who fall outside that demographic… The Finest Hours can be a long sit.

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