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THE PERFECT STORM.
This film demonstrates the uniqueness of humanity and the overwhelming power of chaos.
-Review by David Bruce

T
HE PERFECT STORM
(2000)

This page was created on July 07, 2000
and was updated on May 29, 2005

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Writing credits Sebastian Junger (book) and William D. Wittliff

George Clooney .... Captain Billy Tyne
Mark Wahlberg .... Bobby Shatford
John C. Reilly .... Dale "Murph" Murphy
Diane Lane .... Christina Cotter
William Fichtner .... David "Sully" Sullivan
John Hawkes .... Mike "Bugsy" Moran
Allen Payne .... Alfred Pierre
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio .... Linda Greenlaw
Karen Allen .... Melissa Brown
Cherry Jones .... Edie Bailey
Bob Gunton .... Alexander McAnally
Christopher McDonald .... Todd Gross
Dash Mihok .... Sgt. Jeremy Mitchell
Josh Hopkins .... Capt. Darryl Ennis
Michael Ironside .... Bob Brown
Rusty Schwimmer .... Irene "Big Red" Johnson
Janet Wright .... Ethel Shatford,

Produced by Alan B. Curtiss (associate), Duncan Henderson (executive), Gail Katz Barry Levinson (executive), Brian McNulty (associate), Wolfgang Petersen, and Paula Weinstein
Original music by James Horner
Cinematography by John Seale
Film Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce

In the Fall of 1991, the 'Andrea Gail' left Gloucester, Mass. and headed for the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. Two weeks later, an event took place that had never occurred in recorded history.

SYNOPSIS:
Based on the Sebastian Junger novel of the same name which chronicled this true story. In the Fall of 1991, the six-man crew of the boat Andrea Gail departed from Gloucester, Massachusetts and headed for the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic. Two weeks later, an event took place that had never occurred in recorded history - a convergence of a thunderstorm and a hurricane to create the most powerful storm in modern history.

David BruceThis film demonstrates the uniqueness of humanity and the overwhelming power of chaos.
-Review by David Bruce

Click photos for larger ones

LIFE IS GOOD. LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE.
Captain Billy Tyne is at peace. Relaxing optimistically under blue skies surrounded by peaceful waters. We all know his tomorrow will be chaos under stormy skies in a tempestuous ocean. Better to enjoy today and not worry about tomorrow, Jesus once said. Enjoy precious moments
RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE TRUE RICHES IN LIFE.
In the first half of the film we are quickly drawn into a number of relationships. We get to know the domestic side of the crew. The film places its greatest value on the human relationships -- not money, not position.
THE PARENT-CHILD BOND IS POWERFUL
The most moving relationship is between Murph and his son. In the midst of divorce the parent-child relationship is even more precious -- which makes the broken family even more sad.
ENEMIES CAN BE POWERFUL FRIENDS.
Scully and Murph do not like each other. They fight continually on board the ship. Interestingly when Murph goes overboard, Scully is the first in the water to save him. Human dynamics, who can understand them? Loving your enemies is a deep mystery!

TECHNOLOGY IS GREAT, WHEN IT WORKS.
In our world of increasing isolationism, technology becomes even more important. When the radio crashes, the crew discovers just how alone they really are. With the Internet, we may have an email friend across the ocean, and at the same time not know the neighbor next door.

THE NEED TO SUCCEED CAN DRIVE THE HUMAN SPIRIT.
One of the great gifts of God to humanity is ambition -- the need to achieve more; to do what has not been done; to conquer the uncharted territories of life. In the film, this ambition is getting to the best fishing spot.
THE DISCONNECTED SPECIALIST.
There is an interesting scene in which a meteorologist discovers the "perfect storm" shaping up. He seems pleased to have discovered it, and, yet, detached from the horrific ramifications that it will soon have. The danger in specializing is losing sight of the big picture.
FORMING COMMUNITY IN THE FACE OF CRISIS.
Personal conflicts take a back seat when crisis comes. Knowing that they face a horrific storm the crew forms into a very different kind of community. The key here is single focus -- a common goal.
THE FRUSTRATION OF BEING UNABLE TO SAVE OTHERS FROM THEIR DOOM.
The radio goes down and Linda Greenlaw cannot communicate to the Andrea Gail crew the overwhelming danger that they face. It is a frustrating experience not to be able to help those we care for.
MANAGING FEAR. THE POWER OF THE HUMAN WILL.
At no time in the film does anyone pray. This creates an even greater sense of isolation and helplessness. The only resource that the story examines is sheer human determination -- which is powerful. But, ultimately not enough.
DECISION TO FACE THE PROBLEMS.
The decision, based on the information they had, was right -- to face the problem head on. Sometimes, however, the chaos is more than the human can handle. And, so it is in this story.
WINNING BATTLES, BUT LOSING THE WAR.
There are many parallels to life with this film. As the ship is being tossed to and fro in the storm, part of the rigging becomes dangerously loose, and they secure it at great peril to human life. They win the momentary battle. But...
MOVING FORWARD.
Generally the right decision.
But the timing was wrong.
HANGING ON AND NOT LETTING GO. THE WILL TO SURVIVE AND WIN.
The special effects are fantastic -- better than the acting, in fact. The effects underscore the power of the human will to survive -- to live, to go on, to be saved.
SOMETIMES THE CHAOS IS GREATER THAN WE ARE.
I remember a preacher fellow saying once, "Don't mess with sin, it is greater than you. It will take you every time." And it is true: the chaos that surrounds us is more than the individual can handle alone. We need divine help if we are to be saved from it.

Bulletin Board:

STORMY SCRIPTURES
Subject: Storms in Scripture
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000
From: John Madvig

Here are a few examples of storms and their functions in the Bible:

1. Storms are God's creation. They can cause people to realize their own weakness and their need to rely upon and pray to God, who is able to deliver them. Psalm 107:23-32: Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity; they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

2. Storms can serve more than one function. In the case of Jonah, not only does the storm cause Jonah to reconsider his call to bring God's message to Ninevah, but the events also served to demonstrate God's power to a group of unbelieving sailors, whose reaction was to recognize and worship the one true God. Jonah 1:1-17: Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, "Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. The captain came and said to him, "What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish." The sailors said to one another, "Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, "Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?" "I am a Hebrew," he replied. "I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Then the men were even more afraid, and said to him, "What is this that you have done!" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so. Then they said to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?" For the sea was growing more and more tempestuous. He said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you." Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. Then they cried out to the Lord, "Please, O Lord, we pray, do not let us perish on account of this man's life. Do not make us guilty of innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you." So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

3. In the midst of the storm, we find Jesus, the all-powerful God himself, and he is right there in the boat with us. Mark 4:35-41: On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

MISSING SOMETHING
Subject: movie review The Perfect Storm
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000
From: Robert

Was surprised that this film drew so much praise. Film was hard to understand (maybe it was the theater I was in). A powerful examination of characters involved but I walked away from film feeling there was something missing. \ I realize you cannot rewrite history. I shall endeavor to read book. I suspect there may be elements the movie missed.


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