Blu-ray Review: The Finest Hours

Release Date: May 24, 2016
Rating: PG
Running Time: 117 minutes

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.

The Finest Hours is a solid account of the true harrowing story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. What a ride you will be taken on when you watch this film. From the moment the movie begins until the very end, every scene on the sea will have you on the edge of your seat.

This movie is loud and terrifying and visually stunning. I’d go so far as to say that it’s all action as its attempts at humanizing the characters in the beginning and linking home to the sea are weak and don’t have enough of a balance in the film to care about the attempt. Simply put, story wise, it’s not heartfelt. It doesn’t strike an emotional chord on this front. The fight for survival is what drives the film and that’s what’s so strong about the film. But since its lacking literally everywhere else, I can see why this film didn’t get much fanfare when it was released in theaters.

The film follows those on the ship and those behind on land who hear about their comrades in need of rescue, only four of which are actually selfless enough to go out into the storm and save those lives (over 30 lives), as well as the fiance of the man who led the rescue mission. I was moved by the men on the sea in their fight for survival and the rescue team, though the rest I could have done without. In fact, I wanted more from the rescue team as they made their way to the ship.

It seems with a few tweaks in the story (not the facts, the fiction), this movie could have been a lot more compelling and absolutely phenomenal. Alas, this is what we get and while not amazing, it does its job in captivating my attention and peaking my interest in the real life heroes and survivors of this unimaginable event.

Bonus Features:
* Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story (Approx. 14 minutes) – The crew and Chatham residents recall Bernie Webber’s rescue mission and if you didn’t tear up during the movie, you might during this feature.

Appearing in This Feature:
Co-Authors, Casey Sherman & Michael J. Tougias
Producers, James Whitaker, Dorothy Aufiero
Director, Craig Gillespie
36500 Lifeboat Coxswains, Donald St. Pierre, Richard Ryder
Chatham Residents, Mike Nickerson-Power, Phyllis Nickerson-Power, Robert Ryder, Roger Williams, Frances Nickerson, Steve Nickerson, Benjamin Nickerson, Edith Hardy, Suzanna Nickerson, Jane Nickerson-West
Bernie Webber’s Daughter, Pattie Hamilton

* Brotherhood (Approx. 2 minutes) – In this feature, the director and main cast members briefly talk about working with each other and if you’ve seen the guys on their press tour rounds, you’ve heard this all before.

Appearing in This Feature:
Director, Craig Gillespie
Cast Members, Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, John Magaro, Kyle Gallner, Ben Foster

* Two Crews (Approx. 2 minutes) – In this feature, the director and main cast give a quick break down of the two crews aka the unintentional leaders of the ship and the rescue crew. If you’ve watched the movie, you already know the break down so there’s no need to watch this special feature.

Appearing in This Feature:
Director, Craig Gillespie
Cast Members, Chris Pine, Casey Affleck

* What is Your Finest Hour? (Approx. 1 minute) – In this feature, United States Coast Guard, Captain Jennifer Williams shares her greatest act of heroism and what a story it is. The things these men and women have to do to save lives and keep us safe…it never fails to humble you, to slap you in the face with a reality check and full heart of gratitude.

* The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard (Approx. 2 minutes) – This feature is essentially a continuation of the previous feature so I’m very confused as to why this was split unnecessarily into two features.

Appearing in This Feature:
U.S. Coast Guard, Jamie Kim, Zach Diulio, Matt Vaughn, John Pruitt, Gina Miele
Cast Member, Chris Pine

* Deleted Scenes (4 minutes) – There are two deleted scenes on the blu-ray, “A Desperate Idea” and “The Story of How They Met.” Neither of these are finished scenes which actually make them all the more gripping and fascinated by the effects that were added to make the film what it is. Both scenes are weak and not worth watching, the first because it’s practically unintelligible and the second just falls flat.

Own The Finest Hours on Blu-ray and DVD today.