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The perfect storm - Wolfgang Petersen, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

The perfect storm is a true account of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working day, pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the capricious forces of nature. Their worst fears were realised one autumn in 1991 when they were confronted by the greatest storm in modern history.

Persons of interest

  • George Clooney .... Captain Billy Tyne
  • Mark Wahlberg .... Bobby Shatford
  • Diane Lane .... Christina "Chris" Cotter
  • John C Reilly .... Dale "Murph" Murphy
  • William Fichtner .... David "Sully" Sullivan
  • Bob Gunton .... Alexander McAnally III
  • Karen Allen .... Melissa Brown
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio .... Linda Greenlaw
  • Allen Payne .... Alfred Pierre
  • John Hawkes .... Mike "Bugsy" Moran
  • Christopher McDonald .... Todd Gross
  • Dash Mihok .... Sergeant Jeremy Mitchell
  • Josh Hopkins .... Captain Daryl Ennis
  • Michael Ironside .... Bob Brown
  • Cherry Jones .... Edie Bailey
  • Rusty Schwimmer .... Irene Carell
  • Janet Wright .... Ethel Shatford
  • Sebastian Junger .... Author
  • Bo Goldman .... Screenwriter
  • William D Wittliff .... Screenwriter
  • Wolfgang Petersen .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The nice storm.

For a film that rides on being based on truth you will realise before you leave the theatre that you've been duped. Half the film is, in fact, fiction: a story made up to fill in the gaps between what is known at the beginning and what is known at the end. Because of a request from the makers of the film, I won't tell you how The perfect storm ends but you can pretty much guess for yourself.

On top of that is the fact that this is a film about weather, the safest topic of conversation in any language. You've got to wonder about any story that uses inclemency for a climax.

Moving right along, the fishing stuff is true to life (my sibling is a fisherman who, at one time, worked on boats similar to the Andrea Gail), as is the terrible waiting that befalls any who stay behind on dry land. A little bit of it has been tweaked for dramatic purposes but not so's you'd notice (without intimate knowledge). The "action in the storm" stuff is odd for focussing on events that don't relate to the fishing story (a yacht gets caught in the storm and then rescued by the USA Coast Guard, who in turn get caught in the storm and need rescuing) but it does make for interesting viewing in the documentary sense. Unless you're English or French in which case you've already been rescued in a storm....

George is (sigh) ok but he still hasn't mastered the trick of pretending to be anyone other than himself. Mark (Don't call him Marky) is right or the role of the young, testosterone fuelled romantic and he does it well. Mary Elizabeth actually seems to be a fishing Captain, which shows how talented she is. The crew are typically diverse but it's a strange Captain who would mix people who don't get along, no matter how desperate he is for a catch. When someone doesn't get along with the rest of the crew they get over it or they get off the boat: they don't get invited into one. Everyone else helps the two boys do their thing: mothers, bosses, lovers and so forth.

Is The perfect storm worth seeing? Well, it's ok. There's some good drama, some nice effects, some good acting, but Titanic it ain't.

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

125 minutes (2:05 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: 2 July 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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