The catch of the day: a group of imperiled fishermen. After a few barren runs, Clooney, Wahlberg and gang head way out to sea, seeking the haul of a lifetime. Problem is, the mother of all storms is brewing, and they get caught riding the curl. Based on Sebastian Junger's nonfiction chronicle of 1991's "perfect" (in terms of meteorological conditions) hurricane, the film adaptation adds layers of kinship and warmth to the tiny village of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where fishing is everything.
Some of the more hokey sentiment, however, should have been thrown overboard, as it weighs down the film. Still, the big wave-pounding effects are sensational, as is the work of stunt divers who re-create a harrowing yacht-to-chopper rescue in 80-foot swells. Despite the film's forgone conclusion, director Petersen maintains the suspense even when we all know the tides have turned for the worst.