Director Wolfgang Peterson has had more than sufficient practise at at-sea disaster movies, being the director of Das Boot (the boat), one of the best ever war/disaster films ever made. So it was with intense disappointment that I saw the preview for The Perfect Storm. The film it was advertising appeared, so said the review, to have cruddy dialogue (‘I have a bad feeling about this’) and bad acting by George stud-without-acting-talent-but-with-big-ego Clooney.
In fact, I was quite happy not going until someone paid for my ticket, and I was very pleasantly surprised.
The true story concerns fishermen on the final trip of the season, whose boat gets caught in the middle of a freak storm. The film starts poorly enough, with the normal Hollywood cliches, such as the divorced father who hardly ever sees his young son, and a young couple, where the husband (Mark Wahlberg) is always working rather than being at home.
But all these faults can easily be forgiven by the last hour. The action sequences are absolutely terrific, and Clooney and Wahlberg deliver fantastic performances. The whole film manages to be just the right length (any longer, and it would have become too deja-vu; any shorter, and the plot/characters would have been under-developed), and the emotional scenes, such as they are, steer clear of over-sentimentality.
It’s rare to see a big-budget blockbuster deliver good quality entertainment. The Perfect Storm blew me away.