DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Peterson
May Contain Spoilers!
“The one with the vertical wave”; that’s how we thought of this film back at the dawn of the century. The effects looked stunning in their day, as water had finally been mastered by the CGI wizards at I.L.M. Beyond that, nobody really seemed to care much about the plot.
In fact, it turned out that the story was somewhat true, based on the novel by Sebastian Junger, of the true events, though many are speculative, of the 1991, Perfect Storm. It was created by three storm fronts as they collided over the Atlantic Ocean, laying waste to coastlines and ships alike. Peterson’s film focuses on the Andrea Gale, the shall we say Fated sword fishing vessel, whilst trying not spoil the film for those yet to see it, as they struggled to survive the storm as it waged havoc all around them.
The first half reminded me in many ways of Melville’s Moby Dick, not so much in plot but in the manner of telling the of the story. For those who haven’t read it, Mody Dick does spend a lot of time discussing whaling as well as the core plot of hunting the White Whale as Ahab’s legendary obsession.
This is a fishing film and a quite in-depth one and there’s a lot of fishing before the vertical wave, let’s just say that. But on repeat viewings, it is quite interesting but it does seem to be a little misjudged. Sold as film about as storm, and in many ways, sold as action film, there’ not really enough going on.
As I’ve said, the first half is about fishing, fishermen and the wider fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the second is about sailing through the storm. Well, all’s that George Clooney and Mark Wallberg seem to do here, is steer the boat and play around with the throttle. Then there’s a bit of an outlandish sequence with a crane, but by then, you might be more interested with the rescue helicopter plotline, which deals with a doomed chopper as it rescues the crew of a yacht before succumbing to the waves themselves.
But that too, seems to be misjudged, besides dragging on for too long, it just seems that Peterson was interested in doing a film about a storm, but didn’t really have a story to tell, so he found a few smaller ones to fill it out. The problem was that neither was really enough to hold a film and they don’t really gel together that well either.
All in all, the effects were great, the plotting and execution were all over the place but it does still manage to have enough about it to hold your interest, certainly on late night TV when there’s nowt else on, which as dire as it sounds!