out of 4
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Review by Dragan Antulov
½ star out of 4
Ridley Scott doesn't seem to be particularly choosy when Hollywood
studios offer him something to direct. That might explain not only
genre diversity of his film, but also their quality. During his career
Scott made his mark both with masterpieces and some dreadful films
(like HANNIBAL). Some of his films also quickly vanished from
people's memory, and WHITE SQUALL, 1996 period coming-of-age
drama, belongs to that category.
The plot of the film is based on real-life events that began in 1960.
Couple of teenage boys boarded "Albatross", school ship where they
would spend academic year preparing for college and learning naval
skills. The ship is commanded by Captain Christopher Sheldon
(played by Jeff Bridges), authoritarian determined to help boys
overcoming their weaknesses, learn to act together and become men.
His pupils and the crew, that includes his wife and ship's doctor
Alice (played by Caroline Goodall), spend next eight months sailing
around the world and encounter many adventures. But hardly
anything may prepare them what awaits them at the end of their
journey - "white squall", freak storm with powers to defeat even the
sturdiest ships and most experienced of seamen.
Just like any other Scott's movie, WHITE SQUALL is characterised by
stunning visuals. All this is most evident in the scene that depicts
titular event - in the film scenes lasts for ten breath-taking minutes
(which took thirty seconds in real life). Unfortunately, this event
takes place near the end of film. Until that time audience must
endure incredibly Todd Robinson's inept script full of cliches
inspired by DEAD POETS SOCIETY. In this movie we could hardly
care about characters, partly because of irritating deja vu effect and
partly because they are all played by good-looking young men who
look almost identical to each other. All of Scott's direction and
beautiful images can't compensate this utter bore and audience
would probably await the storm to come to their rescue. Alas, the
movies' problems don't stop there because the storm is followed by
extra twenty or so minutes of Coast Guard hearing in which we are
again treated to Robinson's pathetic attempt to milk previous hit, in
this case SCENT OF A WOMAN. If someone wants to see movie
about real life naval disaster, Wolfgang Petersen's PERFECT STORM
represents much wiser choice.
Copyright © 2003 Dragan Antulov
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