The Perfect Spoiler

Do not read this review if you want to be surprised by The Perfect Storm, which drowns before it ever leaves shore

Wittliff and Petersen certainly are treading in dangerous waters: Junger, acting as truth-telling journalist, wasn't allowed to fictionalize the deaths of Tyne and his crew, which most likely happened about three days after radio contact was lost on October 28. He was forced to rely on historical texts and recollections of other captains and crews caught in the storm; he played it safe, softening the blows by insisting that maybe this happened and possibly that did. But one can't make a film out of theories and conjecture, so Wittliff has gone through Junger's book and plundered from its fact-checked pages in order to bend and break the truth.

No longer are shark attacks (which happened to Murphy, on another boat) and tales of men dragged through the sea with hooks caught in their hands just historical anecdotes meant to illustrate how dangerous life at sea can be for these fisherman. Now they happen to the crew of the Andrea Gail; Junger's research has been brought to life before it drowns. It's as though their true tale wasn't dramatic enough. By the time Chris McDonald shows up as a Boston weatherman (“It would be a disaster of epic proportions. It would be ... the perfect storm!”), it's hard not to chuckle at such cynical, calculated theatrics. It may have been the perfect storm, but this is the imperfect movie.

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