‘Perfect Storm’ brews up solid performances

Kyle Moss

Though Mark Wahlberg has become a big name in Hollywood, his past films haven’t quite given him the opportunity to shine as a great actor.

But “The Perfect Storm,” with its solid story line, interesting characters and breathtaking special effects, is the perfect vehicle for Wahlberg to show that he is truly an elite actor.

Wahlberg teams up with past co-stars John C. Reilly and George Clooney.

The last time Wahlberg and Reilly were on screen together, they were a duo of porn flick actors.

Since then, Reilly has shined in the film “Magnolia” and Broadway play “True West.”

Clooney has yet to garner the kind of respect in the movie business he had when he starred on the TV drama “ER,” but his first project with Wahlberg, “Three Kings,” had people talking about possible Oscar nominations (that didn’t happen).

“The Perfect Storm” centers around Billy Tyne (Clooney), a veteran fishing boat captain who is in a major slump and returns from a fishing trip with such a weak haul that his whole crew makes very little money.

Bobby Shatford (Wahlberg) and Murph (Reilly) are part of Capt. Tyne’s crew, and both are suffering from personal problems. Bobby is hoping to marry girlfriend Christina Cotter (Diane Lane), but he’s very low on cash, and Murph has gone fishing so much it has caused problems with his little boy and ex-wife.

The night the crew arrives after their monthlong trip, Capt. Tyne decides he wants to head back out in two days to try and bring in a huge catch of fish, mostly to avoid criticism around the town but also because he has no one to come home to.

So the crew has to turn right back around and head out for another monthlong escapade, and the only person happy about leaving is Tyne.

So the crew’s boat, the Andrea Gail, heads back out. And the first couple of weeks is filled with anything but fish.

Bobby is attacked by a shark, Murph is snagged by a hook and dragged behind the boat and Murph and crew-member Sully (William Fichtner, “Go”) are constantly fighting.

So, ignoring weather warnings, Captain Tyne heads to a part of the sea that is almost off their fishing map. The area is teeming with fish but is plagued by horrible, unpredictable weather.

Sure enough, the crew finds the jackpot and starts catching fish after fish.

But back in Massachusetts, a giant hurricane right off the coast is about to collide with another powerful storm, creating what a local meteorologist calls, “the perfect storm.”

If the Andrea Gail heads home when the crew is supposed to, members will run smack into the middle of it.

Their only other option — waiting for the storm to pass — is out of the question since the boat’s ice machine is broken, and they will only be able to have their giant catch on ice for a few more days.

So Capt. Tyne decides to go for it.

The biggest surprise to come from “The Perfect Storm” is Wahlberg’s performance. He is believable as his character contends with his devotion to his girlfriend, his need for money, his love for fishing and his dedication to his boat captain.

Reilly’s versatility as an actor is on display in this movie. His character shows compassion to his little boy and ex-wife and then his tough, macho side shows when he is fighting with Sully.

Clooney’s performance isn’t as strong as Wahlberg’s, but it’s definitely his best to date. His style of acting, as demonstrated in “Batman” and “Three Kings,” seems to be a bit too similar in all his films, but his physical appearance and subtle intensity makes him a good choice for the role of the rugged sea captain.

Director Wolfgang Peterson does a great job helping to develop each character in a short amount of time by adding other things to the film that the script couldn’t flesh out on its own — such as people’s reactions, emotions and lifestyles.

Peterson directs the film creatively so, as you watch, you gradually gain more insight into each character, while being drawn further into the storyline.

“The Perfect Storm” may not be as much of a summer blockbuster as other movies that are in theaters now, such as “X-Men” and “Mission: Impossible 2,” but it features great performances, especially from Wahlberg.

**** out of five

Kyle Moss is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Urbandale. He is arts and entertainment editor for the Daily.