The Perfect Storm (2000) / Adventure-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and scenes of peril
Running Time: 130 min.
Cast: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane, William Fichtner
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Screenplay: William D. Wittliff (based on the book by Sebastian Junger)
Review published December 30, 2000
Based on real events that happened back in 1991, and chronicled in Sebastian Junger's bestseller, this is a mostly speculative account of what happened on board a fishing vessel in the North Atlantic which past through one of the nastiest storms ever. It's a struggle for survival as the crew quickly find themselves slowly losing control of every aspect of the ship.
The Perfect Storm is what happens when something that should have been made for TV gets big budget Hollywood treatment. The special effects are what's most impressive about the film, which is astonishing since most people watching won't realize almost all of the storm is computer generated.
Wolfgang Petersen, director of the taut thriller Air Force One and the classic submarine film Das Boot, does the best he can with the material given to him, and a competent cast of character actors breathe life into simplistic, underwritten roles.
A more realistic portrayal of these events would have made for a much more compelling film, but too much romanticism and whoop-de-do before what's just a mere fishing expedition leads to a schmaltzy and ineffectual ending. Credit Petersen and the cast for making this watchable, but it really isn't a film that needed to be made.
©2000 Vince Leo