Hours

January 10, 2014
By Yun Ting

Directed by Eric Heisserer, starring Paul Wallker, Genesis Rodriguez and Nick Gomez. A disaster thriller set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is also one of the two last finished movies that stars Paul Walker, who was killed in a tragic accident on Nov 30 2013. He plays a new father, Nolan Hayes, whose child is stranded in a New Orleans hospital after Katrina hits, leaving him desperate to preserve his child’s life. Much like Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” or Tom Hanks in “Cast Away,” Walker’s Nolan finds surprisingly engaging if compelling ways to pass the time. He speaks to his silent daughter, telling her about her mother while pulling out photos and other souvenirs—including her engagement and wedding rings, taken off in a rush before going into the delivery room—and placing them atop the ventilator. He hunts down refill bags for the IV drip, changes a diaper for the first time, seeks out a radio transmitter after cell service goes out, remembers how he and his wife met and fell in love, and rushes to the rooftop and back after failing to flag down a helicopter. Matters grow more dire when men with guns start lurking in the darkened hallways, scavenging for food, drugs and whatever they need to get by. And, all the while, he must continue to return to crank that battery. Again and again and again. His pretty face obscured by a beard and his considerable physicality tested, Walker manages to be both tender and tough, and to watch him stretch himself so well is a pleasure. It’s much like watching the late James Gandolfini up-end his menacing image with his sweet portrayal of a lovable lug in “Enough Said.” It’s a sad experience knowing he is no longer around, but also happy, since he left behind one more memorable performance. Heisserer doesn’t get everything right, but he sure knows how to milk a taut ending, including a miraculous final shot, one that would have drawn tears even if Walker were still around. For those who wish to see the actor at his best, “Hours” is worth the time.

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