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The story of the USS Indianapolis is a very intriguing and powerful one, as well as important from an historical perspective. It helped to change to course of the second world war but it's still mostly the story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis after it helped to change history that makes the story an absolutely fascinating and unique one. Therefore most important question is; does this movie do justice to history? The short answer is no.

It's definitely a bit of an odd film, that suffers from multiple problems but I believe that the main one is that it doesn't seem to known on which part of history it should put its emphasis and most focus on. The delivery of the atomic bomb? The sinking and struggle for survival? Or the whole aftermath of the naval disaster? Instead it decides to feature all three story-lines, crammed into a movie that's just over2 hours long. It's all a bit too much really and the movie never seems to take its time to tell the story properly, in order for it to ever work out as an edge-of-your-seat or powerful type of drama. All characters are incredibly bland, the performances weak (you know a movie is in trouble when the two lead roles are played by Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore) and all of the side-plots terribly boring and distracting from the main story. It shows you how flawed the writing is and how its possible for this movie with such a powerful concept to work out as an extremely flat and ultimately forgettable one. Just imaging Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor", that's filled with weak dramatic clich├ęs as well but still with the big difference that Bay's movie features a bunch of unrealistic and exaggerated drama in it, while this movie just merely features a bunch of bad- weak written drama and characters.

Thing that also makes "Pearl Harbor" a better movie (yes, I really said this) is that it's a far better looking movie. The CGI effects are all far from convincing, which distracts from the drama that's happening on the screen at times and the action feels and looks terribly cheap, almost as if you're watching an '90's TV-series episode. It also never feels or looks like the sailors are all alone out there in the water, in the middle of the Ocean surrounded by sharks. It looks like they are floating around in a hot pool, probably somewhere in sunny California, surrounded by some green screen, or just off the shore somewhere.

But again, the lacking writing also definitely has to do with this. You never get a sense of danger or urgency once the struggle for survival begins. Characters don't panic or ever behave in a very convincing or relatable kind of way. And no, it most definitely doesn't help that you barely get to know the characters or will be able to ever tell them apart from each other.

Style-wise I also really don't know what to make of this movie. On the one hand it's trying to be a respectful but on the other it's also still trying to be spectacular, with the action, pacing and dialog. It's not so much a problem that the movie makes some wrong choices. It's more of a problem that it doesn't seem to able to ever make any choices at all.

Let me just tell you that the 1 minute of actual footage at the end of the disaster and aftermath is far more powerful and impressive than anything else that ever happens during the 127 other minutes. That should tell you enough, I would think.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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