Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro, Eric Bana, John Ortiz, Michael Raymond James, Josh Stewart, Keiynan Lonsdale, Rachel Brosnahan, Abraham Benrubi
Directed By: Craig Gillespie
Plot: A coast guard ship and its captain (Pine) are tasked with rescuing the crew of an oil tanker in the middle of a terrible storm in the dead of winter. Based on a true story.
What Works: An immensely talented cast pulls an average script to shore. The three leading men (Pine, Affleck, Foster) are all in the running for Oscar nominations from other films this year, but their performances here chalk up what was a great year in 2016 for them. There’s also the added emotional hook that this was based on a true story, which has you rooting for their safe arrival even more.
What Doesn’t Work: The special effects here are lacking. Honestly, for an “adventure” film, this really doesn’t have a lot of actual adventure. The action sequences here are minimal, and there are so many cutaways that the time spent actually at sea seems like a fraction of the film. A lot of those cutaways are to Holliday Grainger who just didn’t cut it for me. Of all the cast, she seemed like a glaring weak point, yet her role had more weight on it than it actually needed. If she had been more marginalized in favor of more action, we probably would have a better film. Instead, it’s just a so-so film with a talented cast, which is also frustrating because they kinda deserved better.
Final Word: Fairly forgettable, yet not awful. It’s just one of those films that’s neither bad enough to be hated forever, or good enough to become a late hit due to word of mouth. I’d say this story was doomed from conception, when they decided to make this more of a drama, yet market it as an action/adventure. Decide what genre you want to be, then push to excel in that genre. Don’t fool your audiences.
Final Grade: C+