The Perfect Storm
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Time Out saysPetersen's movie of Sebastian Junger's bestseller chronicles the last voyage of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat out of Gloucester, Massachussetts, lost at sea in October 1991. In his foreword, Junger admits any attempt to recreate the crew's experience can only be a matter of conjecture: 'I toyed with the idea of fictionalising, but that risked diminishing the value of whatever facts I was able to determine.' No such scruples for the movie-makers, of course, but given that they're making it up, there's no excuse for lines as corny as 'I wanna catch some fish - it's what I do!' It doesn't much matter though. This is one of those films where actions speak louder than words. Regular guy Clooney may be too intuitively smarmy to play your straight-ahead skipper, but the authentically grizzled beard helps, and Petersen loads the boat with plausible working-man types. And this is what's striking about the movie. It's the first blockbuster in recent memory to hold faith with everyday heroes just doing their jobs. More impressive still, their heroism is a kind of unconscious blunder, a macho bluff compelled by hard economic choices. The special effects are staggering and the last hour builds from sinking dread to exhilarating defiance and, finally, remorseful exhaustion.