The waters are deep, and we are okay with it. After all, the deeper they are,
the greater its bounty. But when waters go high - we are talking 120 feet high
- it is a problem. Swirling, rising and resembling a wall, they take you up
and throw you down and, before you can spit out the salty water, take you back
These images are spectacular and tragic in the same breath, although The
Perfect Storm mainly elicits awe and less of emotion. Nonetheless, there
is enough of the latter so that it isn't just another one of those movies that
go down better with the fluffy stuff. In fact, it is a surprisingly subdued
affair, so that when you finally make out that it is a tragedy, it isn't completely
out of the blue.
The opening scenes of homecoming - complete with ecstatic families, relieved
fishermen and, later, mugs of beer - make you want to break into a John Denver
song, even though the Gloucester quayside gives no evidence of being the countryside.
The captain of Andrea Gail, a fishing boat, Billy Tyne (Clooney), is having
problems with productivity. He can't find fish, and there is the question of
prestige as Linda (Mary Elizabeth) delivers them by tons. So, he sets sail immediately,
with a disgruntled crew, to prove himself all over again. Bobby (Mark Wahlberg)
feels especially shortchanged for not being able to make up to his girl, Christina
They do strike a good bounty, having sailed in different directions and farther
waters. But on their way back, they head straight into the mouth of a certain
phenomenon that very few meteorologists witness - a perfect storm, the coming
together of three storms from various coasts. And true enough, it takes down
these valiant fishermen.
The fact that the makers have chosen to tell a tragedy rather than spin out
another heroic yarn is a clear pointer to their intentions of appealing to our
emotions. Besides, the storm is a real tragedy and, rightly, they did not take
a chance by glossing over it. Moreover, to do justice to the book on which it
is based, some rescue operations too are documented. So, it is a sincere effort,
What beats our imaginations once again is the sheer scale of the production.
The hurricanes are truly flabbergasting, and enable us to understand the magnitude
of things. The cast, on the other hand, acquits itself respectably. Clooney
as the tough sailor, and Wahlberg as the homesick, lovesick companion, do credit
to their characters. But, like in actuality, they lose out to the storm, which
is the real asset of this movie.
So, with the memories of floods (in fact, we were grappling with them roundabout
the time that this one realeased in the US) behind us, we can safely acquaint
ourselves with the perils of 'higher' waters.