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THE FINEST HOURS
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, Eric Bana
Director: Craig Gillespie
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
Studio: Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 117 Minutes
Release Date: May 24, 2016

They say you gotta go out. They don’t say you gotta come back.”

Film ***

In it’s depiction of one of the first, and most successful, rescue missions in the history of the Coast Guard, The Finest Hours is roaring adventure in the classic Disney tradition. It also depicts heroism in its truest form. And it happens to feature what is by far the most intense series of scenes involving boats vs. mother nature since The Perfect Storm.

Set in 1952, the story tells of Coast Guarder Bernie Webber (Chris Pine). He has just met the woman of his dreams in the form of Miriam (Holliday Grainger). But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Bernie is ordered to command a rescue operation just as a massive blizzard is approaching the very area he must race to.

The mission involves the rescuing of the crew of an oil tanker known as the Pendleton just off the coast of Cape Cod. The captain of the sinking tanker, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), is left with no choice but to devise a last minute strategy to keep him and the rest of the crew safe while in the eye of the storm. The Pendleton, by the way, has been completely ripped in two.

Bernie, meanwhile, gets assistance on the mission in the form of fellow coast guard members Richard Livesey (Ben Foster) and Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), as well as volunteering Navy man Ervin Maske (John Magaro). The four man a small boat in horrendously dangerous waters. Those only escalate as the rescue mission progresses.

As expected, there is plenty of dramatic tension, and in three separate cases. There’s the matter of Bernie and his men raising against all odds to get to the Pendleton. There’s also the matter of Sybert trying to keep his crew together while in harm’s way, as well as that of Miriam praying for Bernie’s safe return.

As a technical feat, the movie really does impress. Even though there’s some noticeable green screen in some scenes involving Bernie’s small boat, it’s outweighed by some jaw-dropping moments. In particular, the stunt work on display as the small boat comes across dangerous waves as they near the tanker.

In spite of it’s corny title, The Finest Hours is a heartfelt and triumphant depiction of pure heroism. The performances are top notch, and the visceral aspect is flat out awe inspiring at times. It’s simply a well made and extremely well told story.

Video ****

This Blu-ray release from Disney provides a phenomenal picture for what is very much a visual spectacle of a movie. Colors are fantastic from beginning to end, as is overall image detail. The action on the water looks nothing short of astonishing. An terrific job all around!

Audio ****

The 7.1 DTS HD mix serves this intense adventure movie fantastically. As one would expect in a movie like this, sound is a tremendous constant factor. Moments involving the destruction of the Pendleton tanker, as well as the small boat closing in on the tanker make for incredible audio highlights. Carter Burwell’s music score is also a bonus in the proceedings.

Features **1/2

This Disney Blu-ray features a most terrific featurette titled “Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story”, which contains interviews with people connected to the actual heroes depicted in the movie. Also included are brief featurettes including “Brotherhood” (a look at the bonding between actors during the shoot), “Two Crews” (Chris Pine and Casey Affleck detail their individual portraits of leaders), “What is Your Finest Hour?” (a recount of a real rescue from a real life coast guard member) and “The Finest Inspiration: The U.S. Coast Guard” (a look at real coast guard members). Rounding out the extras is 5 minutes worth of Deleted Scenes.

Summary:

We don’t get movies like this much anymore; that of heartfelt heroic action. The Finest Hours is a classic style adventure depicting just that. The Blu-ray from Disney is definitely worth checking out!

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