White Squall

on February 02, 1996 by Dwayne Leslie
   In 1960, 13 prep students and the small crew of the floating school "Albatross" set sail on a routine journey. Based on a true event, this Hollywood Pictures effort shows students facing their fears, learning the importance of loyalty and order, and experiencing a new world outside the little communities they come from.
   However, little of real dramatic note happens for the first 90 minutes--all of which suddenly changes when the mariners encounter a rare and deadly storm condition called a white squall. But a rapid rescue of the survivors takes the steam out of a sequence of scenes that should have been fueled by emotional battles for the two days they're stranded.
   The story then closes with the young sailors lending their support to the captain when he's faced with judicial prosecution for lives lost under his command. If the focus had been on the characters' experiences instead of the white squall, much more of the movie would have made a lasting impression. Instead, the audience simply sits, waiting for the freak storm to happen.    Starring Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall, John Savage, Scott Wolf and Balthazar Getty. Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Todd Robinson. Produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin and Rock Lang. A Buena Vista release. Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and a traumatic shipwreck. Running time: 128 min.
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