White Squall – Reißende Strömung (1996)

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White Squall – Reißende Strömung: Directed by Ridley Scott. With Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall, John Savage, Scott Wolf. Teenage boys discover discipline and camaraderie on an ill-fated sailing voyage.

“We all know that Ridley Scottu0026#39;s standard visual signature is of fabric caught in the wind and so this film must be his ultimate dream. It is set on board a sailing ship and we are treated to many shots of the wind filling the shipu0026#39;s sails. Sadly, like the sails, the film as a whole is rather over-blown. The plot revolves around a dozen or so spoilt little rich brats spending a summer on a sailing ship under the tutelage of martinet Jeff Bridges, whose job is seemingly to make them confront their fears and emotional turmoils. And by god, they have emotional turmoils aplenty. Each teenaged boy has an easily identifiable trauma to deal with: one kid wets himself (literally!) at the thought of heights, one has dyslexia and is thus at war with everyone, one hates his father etc etc. The central brat is a budding writer and he is the 15 year old who, towards the end of the film, claims that u0026quot;I still donu0026#39;t know who I am…u0026quot; But then who does at 15?u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAll the troubled lads – some of them virtually certifiable – spend lots of time losing their tempers, fighting with each other and then, once they realise how unreasonably they have behaved, they immediately burst into cathartic tears, hug everyone in sight and are one step closer to spiritual enlightenment and manhood. For me this is the filmu0026#39;s downfall.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhite Squall is based on a true story. Jeff Bridges plays the shipu0026#39;s skipper who, during the Sixties, took a boat-load of teenaged lads on a summeru0026#39;s voyage around the Caribbean, only to have the ship sink in the eponymous storm, with the loss of life. The potential is there for a great action film with plenty to say about responsiblity and personal growth but sadly Ridley Scott over-inflates the human interaction to Jerry Springer-sized proportions.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAt least Jeff Bridges is reliable as always. He must be one of the most underrated yet outstanding actors there is. At least, I thought, Jeff wonu0026#39;t start blubbing at the drop of a hat. Sadly, in the final scene (and watch out for it, the bell ringing is pure ham!), he succumbs to the directoru0026#39;s dictates and has a group-sob with the surviving members of the lachrymous brats. Du0026#39;oh!u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003ePlus points are Jeff Bridges, the ship and the photography. Minus points are the rest of the actors and the script. Still, worse things have happened at sea…”

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