Monday, November 3, 2014

Film Review: Hours (2013)

Hours (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...simple yet effective."

A father (Paul Walker) struggles to keep his newborn baby alive in a hospital during Hurricane Katrina...

Hours follows Nolan Hayes after his wife passes during childbirth. His child survives via an incubator. Aside from the untimely death of his wife, Nolan finds some solace in his newborn baby. Unfortunately, the power goes out and the building is evacuated. The incubator isn't portable and the only power available is through a crank -- a crank that must be used every 3 minutes to keep the power going. So, Nolan stays in the hospital and attempts to keep his daughter alive until rescue. A simple yet suspenseful story. I liked the ending, too; a certain element can be seen from the beginning, but it was decent.

Hours is simple yet effective. The bulk of the story is confined to the hospital and to a single character: Nolan. This simplicity allows this specific character to shine, as well as the actual struggle. I felt like it made it more suspenseful. This is one of those cases were the simplicity is genuinely attractive; one of those films you can pick-up-and-play without any background information, then be surprised by its effectiveness. The tension and suspense is great, and the emotion is genuine, at least during the hospital scenes.

You see, this film also incorporates a handful of flashbacks. Flashbacks that are unnecessary and ineffective. These flashbacks attempt to buildup Nolan's character and his relationship with his wife. Unfortunately, this relationship is so cliché and cheesy, it feels like a waste of time. The relationship is like something from a teen romance novel -- something a teenage girl would tell you is the "perfect" relationship. I actually cringed a bit during some of the dialogue when the pair first met. Aside from these mediocre segments, the film only suffers from a few other plot contrivances. Not many, but worth noting.

Paul Walker delivers a very strong performance, except for the flashback scenes. A very emotional performance from Walker, with some surprising subtlety at times. The supporting cast is decent -- nothing great and nothing terrible, simply decent. The music is good in building emotion and suspense. The film is shot well, too; some of the great lighting really stood out during a few sequences. Writer and director Eric Heisserer makes a suspenseful and emotional film out of a simple plot and I am impressed; the flashbacks were mediocre and unnecessary, but the direction is otherwise strong and consistent.

Overall, Hours is a very good film. Like I've said many times, it is very simple and very effective. It has a lot of great suspense and genuine emotion, and some contrived suspense and fabricated emotion. However, the good easily outweighs the bad. This is the perfect time-killer, especially for those looking for a strong drama-thriller hybrid.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment