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The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.

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The Finest Hours movie full length review - Real Life Heroes

The sixties delivered to us something that was fresh and new at the time, the rise of the anti-hero. This would be someone of lesser moral compulsion who usually took the wrong way to do the right thing.

While it was fresh and new at the time in more recent years it's become the norm rather than the exception. So when a movie offers good old fashioned heroes it's nice to see. When those characters are based on real life people it becomes inspiring.

Based on the true story of the 1952 rescue of the crew of the SS Pendleton, the movie doesn't just cover the rescue itself but the men involved as well. Chris Pine stars as Bernie Webber, a Coast Guard crewman in Chatham, Massachusetts who's shy, quiet and dealing with a tragedy that happened a year ago under his watch. Meeting with Miriam (Holliday Grainger), a phone operator he's been talking to for some time now, the two begin dating and reach a point where they make plans to get married. All Bernie thinks he needs to do is get permission from his commanding officer.

But before that can happen a terrible storm sets in and two different oil tankers split in half. The crew of the SS Pendleton watch in fear as the front half of their ship plunges beneath the surface with all who were aboard that half of the ship. Still in control of the engines but dealing with a crack in the ship that's allowing water to build up, head engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) directs them to rig a way to steer by hooking girders into the rudder. It's slow but gives them enough control that they head for the nearest shoal with the hope of grounding the ship until help can arrive.

Back on shore at the Coast Guard station one boat sets out to help with the rescue of the first ship. As the only one left behind to command a second ship towards the Pendleton, Bernie takes on three other crew members and heads for the ship. With winds blowing and waves reaching over 70 feet in height, Bernie and his crew also have to deal with what is known as the bar, a series of shoals that are treacherous to go through even under the best of circumstances and the cause of his defeat the previous year. As the small boat and crew make their way through this deadly option viewers will sit in awe and fear gripping the arms of your seat waiting to see the outcome.

These two tales intertwine to make an incredibly suspenseful film. A third plot line of Miriam attempting to deal with the fact that the man she just agreed to marry is in harm's way and may not make it back to shore. She deals with his commanding officer, the folks on shore she is now getting to know and the family of members who were lost the previous year under similar circumstances. All three stories combine to move the film forward and to intensify the action on screen.

Not knowing the outcome of the movie or having read about this event I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen. The severed boat could go down with all on board or at least a large percentage of them wouldn't survive. The small vessel captained by Webber could find itself in even more disastrous circumstances and no one onboard that ship might make it back. And Miriam could find herself a widow before the marriage even took place. All of these concepts are tossed around much like the ships in the high rising swells of waves on screen but by the end of the film all are resolved.

The most refreshing thing about this movie was that it played out like a classic heroic movie of the past, where black and white good guys and bad were easily identifiable. What these men went through is truly heroic and depicts the Coast Guard in a way that will make you never consider them a low level branch of the military ever again. This is a film that young people should be sat down to watch, giving them a chance to see an example of that old school greatest generation of our time at work. And the fact is that other than the amount of suspense found on screen here it's a movie that kids could watch as well with no foul language or exposed body parts as well. Who would think that in today's age that was even possible any longer! Pine does an amazing job here displaying acting talents that for me haven't been seen before, at least not in the depth that he offers here. Affleck turns in another great performance as well as the man doing his best to save his crew while dealing with those who are willing to look for shortcuts towards survival that he knows will only result in death. The movie is an inspiration and one that, as I stated, needs to be seen. It didn't do as expected at the box office and that's sad as good a movie as it is. Perhaps that will change with the release of the film on DVD. I can only hope so. Take the plunge and watch this one today.