Jeff Bridges’ 1996 starring vehicle, White Squall, was originally marketed as an action movie. But the reality of this high seas story is that it is a coming of age story for a group of young men aboard a windjammer. That’s not entirely a bad thing, though. While most of the movie’s marketing is centered around the story’s final climactic storm scene, it’s the story itself that makes this movie worth the watch.
Writer Todd Robinson’s adaptation of Charles Gieg, Jr. and Felix Sutton’s book The Last Voyage of the Albatross, will keep its audience’s attention for its entire two hour and seven minute run time. As the young men are learning the basics of seamanship before heading out of port, Robinson foreshadows the troubles to come when one of them comes far too close to accidentally hanging himself. It rather contradicts the belief that the albatross is a good luck charm. For those that may not know, this is a direct reference to Samuel Ttaylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Rather than having good luck, the young men have to face Cuban miltiary forces on their way to the infamous Bay of Pigs and even an unstable crewmate who does something so terrible that it makes Sheldon (Jeff Bridges) throw him off of the boat. They also have to get shots for STD’s after their encounters with a group of Dutch girls to whom they play host to for a short while. Through it all, the crew becomes close friends, and grow to be men during their voyage, helping to save each other in the final climactic storm scene.
The only real major downside to this entire movie would be that after the final storm scene, the story drags on for roughly another twenty minutes or so that it didn’t need. Other than that, White Squall is a good action/drama that still holds its own over fifteen years after its original debut.
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