Hours (2013) [Review]

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A father struggles to keep his infant daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I’m currently working my way through the Fast & Furious franchise, which will ultimately come together in a retrospective type of post outlining my thoughts on each one, but in order to get a better understanding and appreciation of Paul Walker I decided to watch ‘Hours’ in-between FF4 and FF5. This was his final completed film I believe, one that was released after his unfortunate death, one that does not involve macho one-liners about family, nor can the tension be increased by simply making about 12 gear changes in 20 seconds.

Instead this plays out in the form of a subdued disaster movie, set to the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, we observe Paul Walker as he deals with the pressing challenges of one of the worst weather catastrophes in recent times as well as the task of being a brand new father to his child who is born prematurely. He has to stay put regardless of the evacuation procedure because they cannot move the baby, and this is the entire film.

Hours is an appropriate name for this, because every single minute feels like a passing hour as Paul Walker is tasked with nothing more to do than sit, and have flashbacks. Not the funny flashbacks like Family Guy, but shit ones about life before the baby that nobody really cares about. Mundane and tedious with nothing more to do than manually turn the handle for the battery, Paul is left to try and carry this film on his own. To his credit, he does OK – there isn’t much more you can do other than speak softly, look like you care and sob at the appropriate times.

That can only take you so far. Look how bored he is. Slowly, much like myself, he just becomes fed up of talking to himself, to his child, in this awful situation – but he plods on regardless. It’s probably too accurate if anything. I would be bored if I were him, with the hours dragging on, the strain is shown in his face but also in every other element of this weak film. He really took it as far as he could, but this simple premise, that probably sounded better on paper than what actually materialised, is uneventful and dull.

For all his efforts, I never felt emotionally invested in the film. It uses the Katrina disaster as a reason to add tension, splicing actual news stories between his flashbacks and whirring of the battery, but then drifts back to tedium and solitude in the hospital. The baby on the respirator is sure to pull on some heart strings but there is only so much of that you can take. Towards the end of the film, it loses its footing and throws in a sequence of events for the sake of trying to make a climax, but are flat and laughable.

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It is a tragic shame Paul Walker has passed away, and a film like this showed his potential as an actor away from the fast cars and insanity, it would have been interesting to see what else he chose to pursue in the future. But we are left with a franchise going from strength to strength, and this, a film that will probably only be watched for him, and had he not passed away, would and probably should have, slipped under the radar for everyone.

Hours is available on iTunes & DVD

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