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White Squall (1996)

The only thing they have going for them is each other

Rating: 0/10

Running Time: 123 minutes

UK Certificate: 12


Based on a true story, Jeff Bridges plays skipper Christopher Sheldon, who sets out on a sailing trip with 13 boys from various backgrounds on his windjammer 'Albatross, as well as his wife and crew. Along the way, the boys are going to have to face up to their fears and learn to work together. From the beginning, the skipper is firm but fair, pushing the boys to their limits and beyond.

However, the trip turns into a disaster when they are caught out by a storm that the Albatross is unable to weather. The ship capsizes and sinks with significant loss of life, including the skipper's wife. The survivors are left adrift in the lifeboats until they are picked up by a passing ship. But with their safe return to dry land, the trouble is only just beginning.

The film is great looking, as one would expect from this director, and Bridges turns in a strong and convincing performance as the hard-edged but soft-centred skipper.

The film does have its flaws though. The characters of the boys, while certainly appealing enough to make you empathise with them, are a bit formulaic. Each has his own particular fear, phobia or hang-up, which it is obvious he is going to have to face before the end of the film. After the subtlety and charm of most of the film, the ending is a disappointment, descending as it does into melodrama. The events depicted just don't always seem to sit well with Ridley Scott's cinematic style.

It's Got: The stamp of Ridley Scott – the film looks great.

It Needs: Less structured characters

DVD Extras No extras with this DVD – a missed opportunity. Ed. What goes through the minds of DVD makers who do this kind of thing. DVDs are premium products at premium prices. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10


An unusual drama and not the kind of film one would expect from Ridley Scott. Fans of Jeff Bridges and those who enjoy television dramas will probably like this one.

Ed. A DVD with no extras doesn't deserve a rating. Let us know what you think!