Perfect Storm, The

Rated 4.0 The confluence of three Atlantic storm fronts creates the worst tempest in 100 years; caught in it is a fishing boat captained by George Clooney, with Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly and William Fichtner among the crew. Sebastian Junger’s non-fiction bestseller comes to the screen via writer Bill Wittliff, director Wolfgang Petersen and a battalion of the best special-effects artists $130 million can buy. The result is a hair-raising whopper—suspense to the breaking point and beyond, and not for the faint of heart. Petersen invests the action with the same mix of chaos and clarity that he brought to his masterpiece Das Boot, with the same white-knuckle excitement. This one depends entirely on the big-screen experience; if you wait for the video, it’ll be like playing with an ocean-in-a-bottle.