Disney’s The Finest Hours starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck is meant to be an ode to the men and women of the Coast Guard who risk their lives battling the unforgiving seas. The film tells the true story of a four man crew in the Coast Guard who attempted to rescue the remaining passengers of an oil tanker that had been split in half off the coast of Maine during a blizzard in 1952. The tale and the message about bravery are heroic in The Finest Hours, but the film itself takes on water like a ship sinking to the bottom of the Ocean.
The Finest Hours essentially shoves two films into the hour and forty-seven minute run time. The two plot lines are the surviving members of the sinking tanker led by engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) and the Coast Guard team captained by Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) sent to rescue the men in the terrible weather conditions. The portion of The Finest Hours that examines the men trying to survive after the tanker is ripped in two is actually very well done. Casey Affleck shows again why he’s one of the most underrated actors in the business as the man trying to come up with a plan to keep everyone alive and bring more to the role that was written for him.
Seeing the crew go MacGyver trying to improve their situation is way more appealing than the other section of The Finest Hours which completely ruins the experience. It’s a shame this side of the film is meant to be a love letter to the Coast Guard because it’s terribly executed. The love story angle is completely forced down the audiences throat and there’s zero chemistry between Pine and his costar Holliday Grainger who plays the annoying love interest Miriam. Some of the scenes in The Finest Hours are almost laughable while the audience tries to care about this relationship with no depth.
Even the look and style of direction changes between the two stories in The Finest Hours. The shipwrecked tanker scenes are compelling, but the Coast Guard rescue scenes look like a made for TV movie where our players are in a snowstorm with no visible breath. None of the romance is engaging in The Finest Hours and becomes a distraction for the audience who will be longing for the survival side of the motion picture involving Casey Affleck and crew.
Overall, I give The Finest Hours 2 out of 4 stars.