The Perfect Storm is a perfectly fine example of Hollywood craftsmanship. This is a solid tale told with narrative clarity, visual sharpness, and good casting in every role. Wolfgang Peterson, known for his submarine deep-sea thriller Das Boat, rolls his story out slowly over the first forty minutes, before sustained nautical action ratchets up the tension.
As the Andrea Gail, a rickety old fishing boat, and her crew head out to sea, the men on-board have no idea they are sailing into the greatest storm in recorded history. George Clooney is Billy Tine, skipper of the Gail, and desperate to bring in a hefty last haul before the season’s end. Mark Whalberg, John C. Reily, Willam Fichter, Allen Payne, and John Hawkes are the men, who along with the Clooney character, lost their lives at sea battling three raging weather fronts that converged during late October 1991.
Sustained tension highlights this detailed portrait of open water fishermen and the struggles between crew, commerce, and mother nature. The last hour or so, is a superbly crafted mounting of the storm and the unsuccessful attempt by the Andrea Gail and her passengers to make it through to port.
The nautical mishaps of Tyne and his crew are intercut with a failed rescue attempt by Coast Guard divers. There are also cutaways to the loved-ones back in town, all of whom are gathered at the local bar watching the glum newscast. These scenes derail the film with Diane Lane’s way over-the-top line-readings as Wahlberg’s lover. That an a tact-on epilogue are the only dings against this sturdy real-life adventure/drama.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane