The Perfect Storm (PG-13) No Rating

Review Date: June 30th, 2000

Can perfect-looking celebrities, perfect special effects and a perfect bestseller add up to a perfect film? Almost.


A salty skipper sets sail with his motley crew on a three-hour tour ... oops, actually, on a commercial fishing expedition as storms collide to give the Andrea Gail and crew the cruise of their lives. Ten-story waves and a crumbling ocean cruiser threaten to cut those lives tragically short in this Weather-Channel-on-steroids disaster flick. Unfortunately, "The Perfect Storm" starts with a drizzle, dampened by cheesy subplots, but strap yourself in because this film rocks when the waves get rolling.


Can we end the debate about George Clooney having what it takes to be a movie star right here? After kicking butt in "Out of Sight" and "Three Kings," the former "E.R." stud has amply proven himself. He's every bit the leading man here as a fisherman who's in over his head (literally). To say that Mark Wahlberg plays Gilligan to Clooney's skipper wouldn't be quite fair; he completely sheds his Calvin Klein-clad image as a seaman who's love of swordfishing could cost him his girl and his life. But beware: "Storm" is no "Titanic" disaster-glam here. Clooney and Wahlberg are seriously shaggy and grungy for the entire 2+ hours.


Wolfgang Petersen mercifully avoids the silliness of recent disaster spectacles such as "Twister" and "Volcano," instead attempting to tell this true story with dignity. He flounders with the maudlin "Men Who Fish Too Much and the Women Who Love Them" backstory, but redeems himself with ocean storms so sensational you won't be able to cancel your Carnival Cruise quickly enough. Peterson gives us glimpses of the boats deeper into the storm than the Andrea Gail, showing us what's in store for our heroes and building a near-unbearable level of tension.

Bottom Line

Forecast says lows in the first half clearing away for scattered thrills.


Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and John C. Reilly

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Written by William D. Wittliff, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin. Based on the novel by Sebastian Junger. Produced by Paula Weinstein, Wolfgang Petersen and Gail Katz. Released by Warner Bros.