Squall Waiting

A complete washout, The Perfect Storm drowns before it ever leaves shore

The rest of the crew disappears behind the raindrops and surging seas. The actors -- even Reilly and Fichtner as feuding shipmates, another fabrication -- might as well have been computer-generated like the surging seas. They barely speak at all, except to yell at each other or curse Tyne's bad luck.

Wittliff and Petersen certainly are treading in dangerous waters: Junger, acting as truth-telling journalist, wasn't allowed to fictionalize the deaths of Tyne and his crew, which most likely happened about three days after radio contact was lost on October 28. He was forced to rely on historical texts and recollections of other captains and crews caught in the storm; he played it safe, softening the blows by insisting that maybe this happened and possibly that happened. But one can't make a film out of could-haves, out of theories and conjecture, so Wittliff has gone through Junger's book and plundered from its fact-checked pages to bend and break the truth.

Look, he's still Batman: George Clooney hangs on to a flimsy script in The Perfect Storm
Claudette Barius
Look, he's still Batman: George Clooney hangs on to a flimsy script in The Perfect Storm

It's as though their real-life tale wasn't dramatic enough, so Wittliff gives it more weight -- enough to drag it to the bottom of the ocean. It may have been the perfect storm, but this is the imperfect movie.

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