Review of 'The Perfect Storm'

the_perfect_storm.jpg In October 1991 the sword-fishing boat Andrea Gail leaves the harbour of Gloucester, Massachusetts captained by the down-on-his-luck captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) leaving their family and loved ones behind at the dock. When they find little to catch on the Grand Banks they decide to try their luck much further east on the “Flemish Cap” where their luck takes a turn for the better and they are able to fill their boat with the catch. While they are fishing a confluence of several storm systems comes together to create a “perfect storm” - the strongest type of storm there is with waves 40 feet (12 meter) high. On the calm waters of the Flemish Cap Tyne hears the warnings and with the crew decide to risk a crossing of the storm rather than let their catch rot in the hold…the biggest and most fateful decision of their lives.

“The Perfect Storm” is based on a real story and is all the more harrowing for it. The effects are, as may be expected if you have seen the trailer, absolutely incredible and utterly believable (even after almost 20 years since the film was released) as the Andrea Gail struggles through the storm with massive waves continuously pounding the ship putting the crew in serious danger. No doubt the cast were wet and uncomfortable for a number of days while filming.

Despite the amazing effects the focus here is very much on the people and personalities involved – The dejected but determined captain portrayed sensitively by Clooney who manages to shake off the slick characters he otherwise plays, here a rough and ready captain of a small fishing boat. Mark Wahlberg plays second mate Bobby Shatford with an equal amount of sensitivity but with a much more younger “gung-ho” character boyfriend to the young, attractive Chris Cotter (Diane Lane) and son of the stern but caring Ethel Shatford (Janet Wright) – The owner of the Gloucester's Crow's Nest bar. A good part of the film takes place in the bar as the family and friends wait for news of the Andrea Gail. You sort of know it is not going to end well despite the heroic efforts of the crew…This is not a film to hide from the uncomfortable truths of those involved despite their heroic nature – These are real people, with real failings and the film is all the more better for it.

Yes, this is an effects movie but in equal measures it is about the characters portrayed here sympathetically. There are moments of sheer ecstasy but there are also moments of pure horror, so ultimately a highly entertaining and engaging film.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2019-09-22

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Studio: Warner Bros.

Year: 2000

Length: 130 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Wolfgang Petersen: