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The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm


Title - The Perfect Storm
My Admission - $7.00
One Line Review - Based On A True Story.


Review - A few years back Sebastian Junger wrote an amazing book chronicling the Storm of 1991; using the crew of the sword fishing boat: Andrea Gail and their families as the crux of his story. 9years after the original incident and 5years after Junger's book, director William Petersen (Das Boot, Air Force One) brings the Andrea Gail's story to the screen...And it's a VERY intense ride.

The life of a sword fisherman is a hard one.  Spending a month at sea, baiting, fishing, and hauling 50thousand pounds of swordfish from the sea.  Putting it all on ice and racing it back to port before it can spoil.  All this for about $3000.  Billy Tyne (George Clooney) is the captain of the Andrea Gail and his numbers are slipping.  His last three trips this season have found him and his crew coming up almost empty, and under what appears as Pride, to this reviewer, Billy decides to make one last trip before the season is through.

Billy quickly assembles his crew, consisting of Bobby Stratford (Marc Whalberg), Murph (John C. Reily), and William Fictner with a few others and heads back out to the deep waters of the Atlantic in search of the 'mother lode'.  But it's late in the game and the strong winds of fall are beginning to blow.  Three separate storms are forming in a head-on collision pattern into the mid-Atlantic. The storms will meet right in the middle of the Andrea Gail's path.

William Petersen doesn't just tell the story of the Andrea Gail. Petersen also tells the stories of the crew's families, a smaller sailing boat en-route to Bermuda (with Karen Allen on board), and the stories of a Search & Rescue helicopter and her determined crew of rescuers, who at all costs will sacrifice in order to save the lives of those trapped within the grip of the Storm.

The Perfect Storm is a roller coaster ride in the truest sense of the word.  It has a slow but pointed introduction (lasting almost an hour) followed by over an hour of hair-raising visuals and direct storytelling that left cramps in my legs when it was over.  It's that tense.

In an attempt to look deeper into the core of the film I'm thinking that it's more about bravado and love than anything else.  By this I mean that these people (or characters) do what they do for love. This is not a film about the love of extremes but rather the love of family, tradition, hard work, & the sea.  The reason I use the word bravado is because of the difficult decisions made by these individuals for love, under extreme duress.  Decision-making when facing the elements of Mother Nature can elevate one's pride, hope, and sacrifice to unfathomable levels.  I believe this is the core element of the story, not just of the book or the film but also of the actual crew of the Andrea Gail.  And from that core I can hear a voice, a quiet voice that carries the weight of choice and bravado of men who love, "We will pay the price but we will not count the cost."

Don't miss this story.


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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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