Setting out for the one last catch that will make up for a lackluster fishing season, Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) pushes his boat the Andrea Gail out to the waters of the Flemish Cap off Nova Scotia for what will b... more »e a huge swordfish haul. While his crew is gathering fish, three storm fronts (including a hurricane) collide to create a "perfect storm" of colossal force, and Billy's path back to Gloucester, Massachusetts, takes them right smack into the middle of it. Wolfgang Petersen's adaptation of Sebastian Junger's seafaring bestseller is a faithful if by-the-numbers true-story account of a monster storm that rocked New England in 1991, specifically Tyne's commercial fishing boat and its crew. Junger's tale fashioned a compelling if staid narrative out of seemingly disparate events, but this film adaptation tends to flatten out the story into a conventional if absorbing story of man vs. nature, as the crew fights for survival against the awesome waves the storm kicks up. The central part of the film, which cuts between the Andrea Gail's fight to stay afloat and the attempts of the Coast Guard to rescue a yacht in peril, is suspenseful action of the first degree, aided by some awesome computer-generated waves. Still, it's a long way to that action, with an extended first act that consists mainly of stoic men, crying women, and a fair amount of "don't go out into the sea" dialogue--in other words, a compelling story has been shoehorned into standard summer movie fare. It's too bad, as Peterson assembled an excellent cast--including Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, John C. Reilly, and William Fichtner among them--but seems to opt for only a surface exploration of these characters, though Clooney seems to have a touch of Captain Ahab in him. You may still be won over by the movie, but for a more in-depth portrait, go to Junger's book for the missing details. --Mark Englehart« less
"The Perfect Storm is a really good movie. The special effects were MORE than perfect, and the acting was great. I didn't think the characters were paper-thin at all. At least ~I~ found myself sad at the end.The fact is, people - who really went to see a 2 1/2 hour-long movie and expected a fully ACCURATE portrayel of a ship lost at sea? To act disappointed that they made half the movie up is ludicrous. It was LOOSELY based on a real-life account. I found it to be a great fictional story that had me on the edge of my seat. Through all this people still tend to shoot this movie down based on the fact that it is more sentimental than action-packed. Maybe so. But I think that the main point of the film was to make the audience feel for the characters on board and their families and friends waiting back home. The sentiment really made the movie. (BTW, I thought there was TONS of action)I really liked this movie and would recommend it to anyone."
It shows how it really is
Jake DenHerder | Sitka, Alaska | 08/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Coming from a fishing town in Alaska, this film hits especially close to home. Although the Bristol bay crabbing fleet has lots worse weather and loses lots more lives and boats than we do, we still have our share of boats that sink in bad storms. Some people complain that The Perfect Storm doesn't have a happy ending, well "welcome to the real world". It wouldn't have been realistic at all if any of the crewmen would have survived. There has also been some complaints about the weak roles that the actors play. I know alot of fishermen and deckhands, I have done some long-lining myself, and those men and women acted perfectly normal; no great, awesome speechs; you never see a bunch of fisherman get super emotional and powerful; but often there is alot of passion shown for fishing since it is not only a job, but a way of life. All in all, the movie was very realistic and powerful. Last of all, hats off to the coast-guard men and women who risk their lives daily to save others. It is very much appreciated among all fisherman and sea-farers; especially those who have been rescued by them. It's a great film that hits close to home. I highly recommend it"
"Perfect Storm," Perfect Movie
Reviewer | 08/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In late October, 1991, the commercial swordfishing boat Andrea Gail left Gloucester, Massachusetts, headed for an area just off Nova Scotia known as the "Flemish Cap." The weather in the North Atlantic in the fall is always chancy, but Captain Billy Tyne (played here by George Clooney) had been the victim of some poor harvests of late, and he needed fish; moreover, he knew where to find them. He was also aware of the risks involved at that time of year. What he didn't know and could not foresee (nor could any meteorologist have predicted), was that three major storms were about to converge to form one huge storm, the likes of which comes along only once in every hundred years or so. And the course he had set was about to take him, his boat and crew of five men, right into the middle of it. Director Wolfgang Peterson recounts this incident in "The Perfect Storm," a deftly crafted and intense rendering of the story of the Andrea Gail, and its encounter with the storm of the century. What Peterson did with this film, the way he tells the story, can be likened to what Melville did with the novel, "Moby Dick;" as it moves along, he fleshes out the characters and subtly provides an intimate portrait of what this kind of life is all about. He pays such meticulous attention to details, that by the time you're in the middle of the storm, the impact is extraordinary; you know what this boat is and how it works, you've smelled the fish and the sweat and the sea, and worked alongside the crew. You know these people and what's at stake here. You know the feel of the fishing lines and the grappling hooks, felt that rush of adrenaline that comes when you hook a big one, or when a huge wave washes over the deck. He gives you so much in this film, puts you in it so completely, that it primes your senses for whatever's to come. Combine all of this with the best special effects imaginable, outstanding performances, and a terrific score by John Horner, and you're in for the thrill of a lifetime. The charismatic Clooney is exemplary here as Tyne, and is able to convey a real sense of who this man is without resorting to unwarranted theatrics or bravura. He simply knows him from the inside out, and it shows in the way he carries himself, the way he walks and talks, right down to the look in his eye; the seasoned professional with all the skill and confidence required of his job, but a man who is nevertheless also aware of his own shortcomings. It's a commanding performance with nuance and depth, all there on the screen, and Clooney makes it real. Mark Wahlberg is also outstanding as Bobby Shatford, the rookie fisherman who can't stand to be more than two feet away from the woman he loves, Christina (Diane Lane). Another notable performance is turned in here by John C. Reilly, who does an emotional turn as "Murph," the veteran fisherman who is divorced, has a young son he loves dearly, and lives with the remorse of past mistakes that ultimately destroyed his marriage. Rounding out the exceptional supporting cast are William Fichtner (Sully), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Linda), Allen Payne (Alfred), John Hawkes (Bugsy) and Michael Ironside (Bobby Brown). There are thrills and heroics to spare in "The Perfect Storm," but it's also inspiring; once you've seen the Coast Guard in action, for example, you'll never take them for granted again. What makes this such a great movie, though, is that it's about real people, an instance of ordinary people getting caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and Peterson has made them accessible; these are people with whom anyone in the audience will be able to identify. This is a powerful, emotionally charged and unforgettable film; it will take you to places and you'll experience things from the comfort of your seat in the theater (or on the couch) that most people will never get close to in real life. And therein lies the true magic of the cinema; this is one movie you absolutely do not want to miss."
Starts Slow, but Wait Until It Gets Going!
Michael John Gariti | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 11/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, so for the first 1.5 to 2 hours you may be bored, just a lot of BS about cutting & cleaning fish. However, during that time you really bond with the characters and get to know them personally. Then, they go broke. They need to score a big load of fish. When better to fish then during "the storm of... forever"? (None, because the fish come out when it rains). But with the storm comes some violent seas. Some sato-machismal, be all that ends all, VIOLENT seas. From the first flash of lightning, until the very last second, WOW! Believe me, you've never seen anything like it! If you bave a big screen & digital surround, this is a must-have. If not, it's a must-rent."
Big budget Hollywood's ode to the working man
MAX | Melbourne, Australia | 08/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To use an appropriate phrase - I was blown out of the water! If you've read nothing about this film, read no further - just see it. If you are familiar with the events that took place on the Grand Banks in October 1991 - all I'll say is that this film is a leap of the heart. We don't know exactly what happened onboard the Andrea Gail, but let this film take you along in its speculations. How easy it would have been to make a sensationalised, tacky film. But the prevailing feeling with this piece is one of respect for the crazy/brave working-class guys who risk everything for several months every year - giving up family, home, comfort, solid ground and a whole lot more - for the financial rewards that deep sea commercial fishing can once in a blue moon provide.Sebastian Junger's novel of investigative journalism has been faithfully transferred to the screen, with powerhouse performances by the entire cast - particularly that of John Hawkes as Bugsy Moran (but you would be hard pressed to go wrong with a cast that includes George Clooney, Bill Fichtner and John Reilly). It would seem that with The Perfect Storm and Three Kings, Mark Wahlberg is setting out to redeem himself for such past efforts as The Big Hit. He absolutely shines here! Obvious comparisons to Das Boot will and have been made - I won't bother, only to say that this is Wolfgang Petersen's best work since.Dialogue is rich and realistic. Structure is intriguing and well paced. Technical work is of the highest standard. I have little bad to say about this film. A note on the visual effects - they are so good and there are so many of them, that you soon forget about them - isn't that how it should be?As someone who spent time at sea on a similar sized vessel to the Andrea Gail (though in much calmer weather) - I was knocked out by the reality of this film. But don't think for a second that you have to have been in these men's shoes to appreciate who they are. You'll fall in love with all the characters in this film within the first twenty minutes."