In 1952, an oil tanker called the Pendleton split in two during a blizzard off the coast of Cape Cod. All eight crewmembers who were in the stern at the time the boat broke in two perished. Thirty-three men initially survived in the bobbing bow section of the ship, mere hours away from certain death. Upon hearing news of the situation, a four-man crew boarded the smallish CG-36500 boat and set out to sea, a violently choppy sea, in search of the Pendleton and its crew.
Director Craig Gillespie has crafted an exciting sea-faring movie. That is, an exciting sea-faring movie when it is actually out at sea. Some of the stuff that happens back on shore bogs the movie down in schmaltziness.
Chris Pine plays Bernie Webber, who captains the tiny ship tasked with saving more than thirty men. Yes, this provides the opportunity for the guy who plays Captain Kirk to be called Captain a lot during the course of this film. It’s a slight distraction, but a good one nonetheless. Bernie rides into the belly of the beast with three crewmembers played by Ben Foster, John Magaro and Kyle Gallner. All four are terrific at looking scared shitless while being drenched and bounced about like a 5-year-old in a bounce house with a bunch of energetic and older fat people. Casey Affleck is terrific as a member of the Pendleton crew trying to keep everybody alive.
The film rocks when there’s lots of water involved, but it falters when the story turns to Bernie’s new love affair. Holliday Grainger is given a tough role to pull off as the love interest. Most of her scenes simply distract from the good stuff.