Disaster movies are a favourite of mine and it’s even better when they don’t end the way that you are sure that they will. This was a pretty solid one, even if it is getting on a bit now.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Screenwriter: William D. Wittliff
Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Runtime: 130 Minutes
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by: Pearl
Back before Mark Wahlberg was a big action star, he did this dramatic disaster movie with George Clooney and a host of other famous late 90s famous faces. It was like a game of celebrity bingo, and I had a great time watching the film for that reason alone. The fact that it took all my expectations and threw them on their head was just a bonus.
After a bad season fishing, a crew of a small fishing boat agree to go back out on the ocean to try their luck a second time and try and recoup some of their losses. But a once in a lifetime weather pattern means that they get stuck out in the open ocean during one of the worst storms the East coast has ever seen.
If George Clooney is playing one of your leading men, you know you are at least partially guaranteed to get a good display. And he doesn’t disappoint. His performance as ship captain Billy is easily the standout performance here. Not only does Clooney give a great go at embodying the hardened sea mariner, but his character is easily the one with the biggest and most developed personality and back story. Mark Wahlberg does a great job too, but as his is meant to be the story that pulls on the heart strings, I don’t feel we get enough of his storyline to really feel that emotional connection. And this is even more true in the case of the supposed ‘love story’ between Bugsy and Irene, who he meets for the first time in the bar the night before, and all of a sudden she is eaten up when the reports start coming in that the boat might be missing? That story needed a lot more fleshing out to be believable.
The actual scenes on board the ship during the storm were nail biting and exhilarating. And using the effects they had available at the time, actually pretty good to look at. I hate to think how many buckets of Water Wahlberg and Clooney had thrown over them during those scenes in the bridge (I think that’s the correct term?) where they are trying to wrestle the boat over the gigantic waves. I had a blast watching these sequences.
I also liked that the film does not end the way you think it will. All disaster movies have a formula, and if the film stuck to the formula, there was a definite way that this film should have ended. I wasn’t aware of the story that the film is based on, so I just assumed this would end the same as all the others. And to my surprise it didn’t. A nice change from normal even if it isn’t exactly the ending I had hoped for.
If you wanna see this film for yourself, it is widely available on digital and home release now.