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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 19, 2024


Sebastian Junger's best-selling book, "The Perfect Storm," has not, alas, made a fortunate transition to cinema. In fact, the most charitable thing critics have called it is "the perfect bore."
Now, this is a shame, as the book had all the elements of a bang-up movie – heroes, pathos or, perhaps, bathos, and a really good story where you are pulling for everybody.
It all starts in 1991 when Hurricane Grace, a Category 5, collides with a Canadian low pressure system and a cold front off the New England coast, creating the "storm of the century," an unbelievable "Perfect Storm" with waves 10 stories high and winds of 120 mph. These same conditions couldn't merge again for another hundred years, according to the meteorologists.
Nobody is carping about the action of the ocean; it's the inaction of the cast that's at issue. The first half of the movie drags along as the crew of the fated Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing boat off Gloucester, Mass., gets assembled for a trip which, according to reports, we already are told is probably not a good idea.
The boat is under the command of Capt. Billy Tyne (George Clooney). The Andrea Gail's previous trips haven't been successful, especially when compared with those of her sister ship, the Hannah Borden, captained by Linda Greenlaw (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). It won't come as a surprise that the Gail doesn't make it. Nobody every finds out what really happened, in the book or the movie, but one thing's for sure. She sunk.
On the brighter side, if that's how it should be said, the storm and rescue scenes in the two-hour movie's second hour are said to be incredible. Incredibly good, that is. The book recounts in heart-stopping detail the perilous rescue mission in which the rescue crew loses one of its own members, as they, themselves, have to be rescued. It's great reading, and if you can stick around for the last half of the movie, apparently a great rescue on the screen.
Directed by Wolfgang Peterson.
Rated PG-13.
Playing at Cinema One.

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