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The Perfect Storm

Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Genre: Action
Year: 2000
Rating: 3 / 5

Not many films would have the gall to attempt to elicit thrills and chills from scenes involving a weatherman. Then again, The Perfect Storm is not your ordinary film. The film's trailers list George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg as the stars, but the true stars are the special effects wizards, those men and women who created the incredibly lifelike weather phenomenon. Director Wolfgang Peterson (Das Boot) merely has to sustain viewer interest through the first portion of the film, before our crew begins its inevitable journey out into the heart of the storm. Unfortunately, that is all Petersen does, leaving us with an inanimate cast and some very ferocious weather formations.

Billy Tyne (George Clooney) is the grizzled captain of the Andrea Gail, a once-proud vessel that has fallen on hard times. Just in from what looks to be the last fishing expedition of the season, Billy's crew has produced yet another substandard haul. It will be a difficult offseason for the crew, as money will most assuredly be tight. Billy has other ideas, though, as he rounds up his crew for one more voyage. The weather will certainly be rough, but the fish could be plentiful, and, with a little coaxing, the hardened captain convinces his five-man crew to re-up for one more expedition.

Once out to sea, the fishing is once again a futile exercise. Determined not to let this mission fail, Billy suggests to his crew - including rookie fisherman Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg) and divorced father Dale Murphy (John C. Reilly) - that they head farther east, out to the bountiful harvests of the Flemish Cap. Once there, the Andrea Gail produces the haul of a lifetime, one which will surely see the crew through the lean offseason months. Yet, amidst the excitement, the boat's freezers fail and Billy learns of three storms converging between his boat and shore. The Andrea Gail can wait out the storm, causing the entire fish take to spoil, or brave the elements and head right into the heart of the storm.

Despite some mediocre reviews, The Perfect Storm pulled in the third-largest Fourth of July crowd ever, and I can only assume that this was due to some phenomenal special effects and the magnetism of the "based on a true story" concept. None of the actors hurt the film, but no one distinguishes himself either. George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg re-team to lead this cardboard crew, making it hard to feel any real attachment to the characters. What really prevents me from embracing this movie is my unhappiness with the creative liberties taken by author Sebastian Junger and a lack of compassion for fisherman motivated by a complete lack of common sense. It is pretty difficult to root for crew members that, in spite of irrefutable logic and numerous warnings, still head into a raging storm. But what a storm it is!


George Clooney..........Billy Tyne
Mark Wahlberg..........Bobby Shatford
Diane Lane..........Christina Cotter
John C. Reilly..........Dale Murphy

Certification: Rated PG-13 for language.
Running Time: 129 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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