Director, Craig Gillespie brings heroes to the screen like armed forces, firefighters and police. At the same time he blends in a little of Die Hard actions and eccentricity built into his characters lead by, Chris Pine and Casey Affleck.
Along with the expected excitement of giant 70 foot waves which hit the New England shore in in February of 1952 we see a tanker that has split in half bobbing in and out of the great waves in a blinding massive snow storm. The heroes are there and so are the spectacular effects but the script misses the mark lacking in sufficient power to grab at the audience and pull it in.
Chris Pine is ordered by his superior officer to head out in the record shattering storm to help the crew of the damaged tanker leaving his intended (Holliday Granger) on land with the dreaded feeling that he might not survive. The Coast Guard must go out but has no guarantee of return, is made clear to Pine by Bana his superior officer. Holliday Granger is made up to look like a girl from the 50s with a powdered face and bright red lipstick on her round face. Her look and the classic cars bring the film to the time period in convincing style.
Sound effects are haunting as the waves pound on the hull of the tanker echoing inside and adding to the sense of danger which the crew of the tanker must face. Casey Affleck is the young guy that takes charge of the shattered crew using knowledge of the sea and the particular location where the tanker is breaking apart. He is the one who keeps the men stable even when most want to rebel from his ideas as to how the remaining half of the ship can bring they to safety.
It all takes place in a dark menacing open sea where survival is not likely, and Pike carries his small boat through the toughest waves and currents determined to save the 32 mariners who remain alive on the sinking hull. The difficulties and solutions come from Pike and Affleck but little time is spent explaining how and what they plan and how it is to be accomplished.
Tension builds but is sustained too long and is diminished as the film progresses. Also the emotional flow of the characters peaks near the end and that appears to be effective and believable but it is not displayed enough.
The Finest Hours has its flows and hesitations, the script is actually very simple but non-the-less it is enjoyable.