By its own admission, 'Fisherman's Friends (2019)' is only 'based on a true story' in the loosest of senses, making a point of pointing this out during its credits via an unusually strong disclaimer. Of course, this is absolutely fine - indeed, it's perhaps better to use real-world events more as inspiration for a piece's premise than to claim absolute authenticity while delivering something that, in many cases, couldn't be further from that - but it does make you wonder why many of the issues that typically plague 'true tales' appear here, and why the filmmakers didn't make use of their apparently larger-than-usual dramatic license to 'fix' (or reduce the impact of) some of them. Furthermore, the flick sticks to convention past the point of pure predictability and into the realm of bizarre detriment, as a very late and contrived 'all is lost' moment unnaturally and unnecessarily drags its duration way beyond its seemingly perfect finish-line. It's not as though this totally ruins the thing, but it does feel completely artificial and take the steam out of what was becoming a fairly enjoyable experience. In general, the feature does exactly what you'd expect it to but it does it well enough, for the most part, that you don't really mind. In its second act, it becomes unexpectedly entertaining as its down-to-earth characters and overall upbeat, 'feel-good' nature start to win you over. This is in stark contrast to, as I mentioned, its laboured final act and, even, its rocky start. The ending itself does a decent job of bringing everything back together and putting a smile on your face, but it is severely dampened by what's just preceded it. As a whole, the flick isn't very deep. The core group isn't really rendered all that well because only a select few are given any real character - never-mind an actual name in the credits - and, even then, most of their development is pretty basic. Most of them are more than watchable, though, and their often humourous inter-group dynamics are certainly believable. Pretty much the entire thing is an easy watch; it's never really boring. It's never exactly exciting or emotionally engaging, though. It also doesn't really say anything, other than maybe making a broad statement that people are more important than money. The best thing, honestly, is probably the music, provided by the real Fisherman's Friends. Now, that's got character. 6/10
Comedy / Drama / Music
Comedy / Drama / Music
Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.
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August 13, 2019