I saw HOURS described as a disaster movie but it's anything but. Instead it's a single location character drama for the most part, as the late Paul Walker is the sole resident of an evacuated hospital in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. He can't leave as he has to keep his premature baby's incubator running by hand. Instead of thrills and spills, this is a quiet and dialogue based, exploring universal themes of courage and parenthood, grief and responsibility. Walker's okay - he was always a better actor than people expected given his popularity in the Fast & Furious films - but the pacing is slow and the direction fails to inspire, the movie only coming to life in the last 20 minutes or so.
Unfortunately, films are supposed to be 90 minutes long. What you have here is a great 50-minute idea. There are two choices for the filmmaker. Make a 50-minute film (which won't qualify for most festivals and certainly not for wide release) or come up with more plot complications for your script.Some of the reviews say this isn't "realistic." They didn't pay enough attention to the news in 2005. Things like this did happen during Katrina, and they will happen again, guaranteed. People who take too much effort to keep alive get triaged and left to die. Major disasters don't come around often, and people in "civilized" countries think they are immune to this level of logistical problem, but they are not. Next 9.0 earthquake in California, it will also be this bad and worse. People will be dying in the hallways or hospital lawns, unattended, undrugged, in pain, bleeding. So that's not a problem I had with it. I believed in the realism.The real weakness is, there's really only one plot problem to be solved, and we keep getting riffs on that one thing. Watching this felt like listening to a song with only two notes...and for 90 minutes. When the dog arrives, you nearly weep in relief that it's something else (though not much of a something), but the dog doesn't get to stay around or get developed as a character. (and the baby isn't a character at all. It's a Macguffin, at best.) By the time other characters appear, you're already numb with boredom, and it's too late to save the film.But Walker's acting is good, so it deserves some stars.
Hours is a very good film, but reminding me of pResident Bush's comment of "way to go Brownie" for how the head of FEMA (mis)handled hurricane Katrina angered me and saddened me to no end. Work is a necessary aspect of life, work can even be a great thing, but our government should support people to not to have to suffer so much to succeed in life. pResident Bush could have done so much more to help the people of New Orleans and other victims of this hurricane, so sad that his response was an utter failure. Great movie though. Paul Walker plays a wonderful dad in a near impossible situation. This movie shows a lot of the best and some of the worst that humans can be.
I will be honest, the main reason I took the time to see this was for Paul Walker, in the aftermath of his untimely death in 2013. Plus I have a strong personal connection with New Orleans, and a good friend of mine, a physician, was involved with keeping stranded patients alive during Katrina's aftermath.Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area in late August 2005. The Hurricane itself passed through without too much damage but a weakened and likely poorly-designed levee system allowed massive flooding, power loss, and a multitude of problems.This movie stars Paul Walker as Nolan Hayes, beginning as his wife is in labor for their first child. She has complications and does not survive childbirth, but the baby, a daughter, is healthy but confined to a ventilator for its first 48 hours. Then the chaos begins as hospital staff and patients are evacuated but Nolan and his infant daughter are left behind, with no food or emergency supplies. The movie is about his determination to keep his infant daughter alive. I will admit it gets very slow in much of the middle as we see Nolan basically just surviving. There is some action near the end when looters enter the hospital area and Nolan has to defend himself. But we know what must happen otherwise what would the story really be?