Perfect Storm, The (2000)

Director:  Wolfgang Petersen
Cast:  George ClooneyMark WahlbergDiane Lane, John C. Reilly, John Hawkes
Plot:  An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

Genre:  Adventure / Drama/ Thriller

Awards:  Nom. for 2 Oscars - Best Visual Effects, Best Sound
Runtime:  130min
Rating:  PG for language and scenes of peril.


Wolfgang Petersen's venture into the high seas again almost went fatal.  Ever since his unsurpassed submarine film Das Boot, his resume remains less than impressive.  In the Line of Fire and Air Force One are not considered top-notch action movies, while his latest disaster flick Poseidon sunk into unknown depths.  The Perfect Storm fits quite rightly and unsurprisingly into the bracket between sub-par and above average.

Most people who have seen The Perfect Storm must have been reasonably tempted by the theatrical trailer.  Marketed as a special effects driven movie, Petersen's attempt to use CGI technology to create scenes that astound viewers is, honestly, remarkable.  Slightly unrealistic, the visual effects and sound (both nominated for Oscars) holds up pretty well for most of its screen time.

Alas, a movie, even if it's technically strong, can only engage viewers that much.  What The Perfect Storm lacks is a good script and adept performances by the leading A-list cast of Brad Pitt and Mark Wahlberg.

The original score by James Horner sounds like any other typical film score, making him one of the more uncreative yet still reliable composers working in films today.  The Perfect Storm is not terrible, but it doesn't live up to our expectations.  The filmmakers stated that it was based on a true story, but where's the true story?

Either the filmmakers forgot about it because of their obsession in making huge waves crash spectacularly onto a boat, or the warmth and melodrama associated with a true story got drowned in a whirlwind of a storm.  The Perfect Storm is one for the sensations, although it's far from perfect.

GRADE: B- (7/10 or 3 stars)

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