The Perfect Storm

Bomb Rating: 

WARNING: I've often been accused of not being forceful enough in my SPOILER ALERTS because, for whatever reason, people seem to think I'm pulling their legs when I say, quite seriously, that I'm going to reveal some essential part of a movie's plot that will absolutely ruin the film for the reader if he or she hasn't already seen it. You know, like Rosebud is the sled, that sort of thing. Anyway, I'm very serious here. This is a real SPOILER ALERT. And just to get it out of the way, I'm going to reveal the spoiler in the first sentence of the review. And just so you don't miss it, I'm going to put the sentence in red. In case you didn't know, red is a danger color, which means that you should avoid whatever is in red. So there, that should do it. Don't read the red sentence. Don't read any sentence. Click the back button and get out of here now.

Who in their right mind would want to make a movie where everybody dies in the end? I mean, c'mon, that's depressing. Okay, so in the best-selling book by Sebastian Junger, which is a true story insofar as he was able to research what happened aboard the fishing boat Andrea Gail mostly by gathering hearsay at the local pub, they all die. So what? This is a movie, for Christ's sake. Bobby Shatford (Mark Wahlberg) pops to the surface there at the end. The Coast Guard could have found him. Or the Love Boat. Aren't movies supposed to surprise us? That would have been surprising.

That being said, nobody really knows what happened to the boat that sailed from Gloucester, Massachusetts in October of 1991 into the worst storm of the century with Billy Tyne (George Clooney) at the helm and Shatford, Dale Murphy (John C. Reilly), Alfred Pierre (Allen Payne), Bugsy (John Hawkes), and Sully (William Fichtner) as its crew. So, the dramatic, sad, intrusive music director Wolfgang Petersen uses to send the boat out to sea is severe overkill, given that nobody in Gloucester knew the boat wasn't coming back.

In fact, everything that happens on the boat after the last radio contact with Linda Greenlaw's (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) boat is pure conjecture. As long as Petersen is going to knuckle under to the melodramatic Captain Going Down With His Ship icon and the impossibly brave, pre-drowning discussion about what a great ride it was, why not take the time to have one of the crew get decapitated by the anchor as it swings around wildly in the wind? Everybody loves a juicy decapitation. There's nothing like watching a severed head splash into the water, either. I hate to pun and run, but Petersen really missed the boat with this one.

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