: : : The Perfect Storm

Story

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 be 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

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

George ClooneyCaptain Billy Tyne
Mark WahlbergBobby Shatford
Diane LaneChristina Cotter
John C. ReillyDale 'Murph' Murphy
William FichtnerDavid 'Sully' Sullivan
John HawkesMike 'Bugsy' Moran
Allen PayneAlfred Pierre
Mary Elizabeth MastrantonioLinda Greenlaw
Karen AllenMelissa Brown
Cherry JonesEdie Bailey
Bob GuntonAlexander McAnally III
Christopher McDonaldTodd Gross
Michael IronsideBob Brown
Rusty SchwimmerIrene 'Big Red' Johnson
Janet WrightEthel Shatford
Dash MihokSgt. Jeremy Mitchell
Josh HopkinsCapt. Darryl Ennis
Todd KimseyLt. Rob Pettit

  • Genre: Adventure Movies
  • Director: Wolfgang Petersen
  • Producer: Warner Brothers
  • Length: 130 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35 Wide Screen
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJun 30, 2000
  • Ratings
    North AmericaPG-13
    Europe12
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaNov 14, 2000
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