This is the second movie in my Ridley Scott retrospective.
My second movie in my Ridley Scott retrospective is White Squall, a lesser known movie Scott made after his much maligned, and boring, Columbus epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise. He spent a few years just producing and developing projects, but in 1996 eventually came up with this little adventure drama.
White Squall is the story of a group of teenage boys who embark on a journey aboard school ship Albatross under the guidance of Skipper Sheldon, played by Jeff Bridges. During their trek they learn to work and live as a team, respect each other and stand up for themselves. You know, the usual things kids learn in these types of movies. This is inspirational fare anything like it.
There is a lot to like about White Squall, a title that refers to a rare phenomenon at sea where you have a storm that creeps up on you before it hits you. The movie looks beautiful, but that is something you can expect from a director like Scott. His movies always look so damn pretty that it is easy to dismiss the flaws in them. The cast, including young versions of Ryan Phillippe and Jeremy Sisto, is excellent, giving their characters enough weight to transcend the otherwise fairly mundane narrative.
One could take issue with the fact that the movie is quite misogynistic. Women are only good for two things: giving the boys an STD or curing said STD. Of course, this is a story about boys and men, but a little more care would have been nice. Another issue with White Squall is the notion that teenage boys all look like young bronze gods. Nobody at that age looks like that.
White Squall is a movie you can put up there with inspirational adventure movies like Dead Poet’s Society and Stand By Me. It really me by surprise, because I always thought this was one of the lesser movies by Scott without having seen it. I admit I was wrong to think that.