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Times of India
Set in 1952, the film retells the story of the most daring rescue mission the US Coast Guard has undertaken. Two oil tankers are caught in a massive gale off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Both ships - the SS Fort Mercer and the SS Pendleton, are broken in half after being pounded by massive waves. The Coast Guard send out some of their bravest men on an almost impossible rescue attempt.
The plot of this film is fairly straightforward by itself. While seasoned seamen are stranded in the gale, staring death in the face, it's a miracle that they're still alive and that the shattered Pendleton is even afloat. It's only able crewman Ray's (Affleck) resourcefulness that has kept them from death. Daniel Cluff (Bana) is Coast Guard sailor Bernie Webber's (Pine) Warrant Officer.
Everyone at the Coast Guard station is aghast when Cluff sends Bernie out on this crazy rescue mission. And that too, on a motorboat that can only just about hold 20 people. Bernie is crazy enough to attempt it, even though he might not survive it. This bothers his girlfriend Miriam (Grainger) a lot, who spends much of the movie frantically driving down icy roads and barging into the Coast Guard HQ to anxiously enquire about her boyfriend.
What really works for Finest Hours is the way Gillespie and the effects team recreate the sound and fury of the stormy sea. The scale of the waves is made pretty apparent when we see it in relation to Bernie's tiny rescue craft. This, along with the shots inside the Pendleton, conveys the sense of anxiety and fear that the sailors feel, as they struggle against all odds. Apart from the CGI ocean waves, of note are a few tracking shot sequences inside the ship. But what seems really awkward here is the chemistry between Bernie and Miriam. The love story angle could easily have been left out. Pine though, is in his element as the resolute rescuer. His character is heroic, but in the strong, silent kind of way. Enjoy movies about daring rescues? Go watch this.
The filming required Chris Pine to spend months in a water tank which he admitted has made him so sick that he doesn’t go anywhere near water unless it is warm.
The life boat launch that was used during the actual rescue mission, CG36500, has been preserved in perfect condition at Rock Harbor in Orleans, Massachusetts.
The vintage Police car used in the film was borrowed from the Orleans Police Department.
In 2011, a 153-foot FRC (Fast Response Cutter) was named after Bernard Webber. This was the first time an FRC was named after a hero.
On February 18, 1952, a massive nor'easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern Seaboard and wreaking havoc on anything caught in its destructive path, including two 500-foot oil tankers. The SS Pendleton and SS Fort Mercer, bound for Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine, respectively, were both ripped in half by the storm, stranding their crews at sea. The senior officer aboard the stern of the Pendleton, chief engineer Raymond Sybert (Casey Affleck), soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and keep the ship afloat as long as possible. The Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts was busy helping local fishermen protect their boats from the storm when they received word that the Fort Mercer was in trouble. Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), the recently appointed station chief, immediately dispatches his best men to aid in the larger rescue effort already in progress. When Cluff learns that a second ship, the Pendleton, was also damaged and is now adrift in nearby waters, he orders coxswain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) to quickly assemble a crew and take out the CG36500 lifeboat to look for survivors.
Bernie Webber, a crewman at the Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, has fallen in love with a local girl, Miriam Pentinen. The two plan to marry on April 16, but as per Coast Guard regulations, Bernie must seek permission from the station's commander, Daniel Cluff. On the day he is due to ask permission, Bernie is dispatched to rescue the stranded seamen. Webber and three men (Andrew Fitzgerald, Ervin Maske and Richard P. Livesey) board the 36-foot motorized, wooden boat and set off on the perilous mission with bleak prospects, at best, and before they even clear the Chatham Harbor, the boat's windshield and compass are destroyed. Yet the men persevere, and despite hurricane-force winds, 60-foot waves, frigid temperatures and zero visibility, miraculously locate the Pendleton and rescue 32 of its 33 men in the midst of the turbulent storm, returning a total of 36 men home on their battered 12-seat lifeboat.
When Miriam hears about this, she, like a number of other townspeople, thinks this is a suicide mission. Few people in Chatham trust Cluff, since he isn't from the area and doesn't know its treacherous weather. Miriam even goes as far as to drive to the station and urge Cluff to call Bernie back. Cluff refuses, and brusquely orders Miriam out.
Bernie steers CG 36500 to the stricken tanker, even though he loses his compass along the way. Even though his boat is only designed to take on 12 people, Bernie manages to rescue 32 crewmen. Relying on his knowledge of the coast in place of his compass, he turns CG 36500 toward home--a task made more difficult when Chatham loses power. However, Miriam and the other townspeople drive their cars to the pier and turn on their headlights to guide Bernie in.
Two months later, Bernie and Miriam are married; they stay together for 58 years until Bernie's death in 2009. Webber and his crew receive the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
Disaster drama 'The Finest Hours' based on a true story, has received positive reviews from the critics. Know what the moviegoers said about the film on Twitter... Positive tweets