Wolfgang Petersen has always been something of an enigma as a director, with a filmography that includes superior action-adventure pictures like Das Boot and In The Line Of Fire, alongside undistinguished mediocrities like Outbreak and Poseidon. Petersen’s 2000 adaptation of Sebastian Junger’s non-fiction best-seller The Perfect Storm (from a script credited to William D. Wittliff) falls in the former category. Even though the outcome of the film is inevitable—given that it’s based on the true story of a group of Massachusetts commercial fisherman who all lost their lives in a one-of-a-kind weather event at sea—The Perfect Storm is still white-knuckle all the way. Partly that’s because of the cast (which includes George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John Hawkes, and John C. Reilly), who help create a vivid shipboard community even before the rains come; and partly that’s because Petersen designs the disaster sequences for maximum awe. Too many of Petersen’s thrillers are tame and forgettable, but The Perfect Storm is such a rough, terrifying ride that audiences tend to feel wrung-out by the end. It’s been eight years since the last Petersen movie; while fans of his better films wait for him to take another assignment, The Perfect Storm will be on SundanceTV at 4:45 p.m. Eastern.
October 08, 2014 newsreel