Perfect Storm, The

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio star in this ocean drama helmed by director Wolfgang Peterson (Air Force One, In the Line of Fire).   Fishing boat captain Billy Tyne (Clooney) recruits a crew consisting of young Bobby Shatford (Wahlberg), ringer David “Sully” Sullivan (William Fichtner), veteran Dale “Murph”Murphy (Reilly), Mike “Bugsy” Moran (John Hawkes), and Alfred Pierre (Allen Payne).

In the midst of a fishing slump, Billy hopes for a big catch with a good crew aboard the Andrea Gail.  Based on a true story, which occurred in October 1991, these fishermen encounter a large phenomenon in the North Atlantic Sea.  Add in subplots about the Coast Guard, friendly ship captain Linda Greenlaw (Mastrantonio), and neighboring ships for a plot full of realism and heroic acts.

The actors convey emotion to the audience mainly to due to the antagonistic storm, which consists of weather events never before recorded in history.  Christopher MacDonald (Flubber) plays the most functional character in the film, the meteorologist who accentuates the severity of the storm.

The plot stays simple as the characters react to the storm to survive the storm.  The historic precedence and the character development help the actors stay on the same emotional level as the special effects of the storm.

This solid film was mainly shot in the largest indoor water tank in the world.  The realistic special effects and jarring sound effects make this unique storm totally believable to the audience.

An interesting relationship between Bugsy and a mother of two children may seem trivial especially because Bobby’s relationship with girlfriend Christina Cotter (Diane Lane) make a more plausible romance for the audience.  It’s easier for the audience to believe the lovely Diane Lane and ex-underwear model Mark Wahlberg in a relationship because they’re more attractive than Bugsy and his recent girlfriend.

Bugsy’s relationship makes an interesting counterpoint by recognizing how everyone needs love and companionship in their lives (especially when leaving for months at a time on a ship) and not everyone looks like Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane.

Recommended for good efforts in emotional depth put into the characters and storm effects that pack a sense of fear and awe.  You should leave the theater filled with emotion and the realistic depiction of a fisherman’s life.  A memorable camera shot of Billy instills a distinct visual image that you might reflect on during and after the film.  Recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG-13.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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