D: Eric Heisserer / 97m
Cast: Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez, Nancy Nave, Shane Jacobsen, Natalia Safran, TJ Hassan, Lena Clark, Yohance Myles, Kerry Cahill
Just before Hurricane Katrina makes land in New Orleans in August 2005, Nolan Hayes (Walker) and his pregnant wife, Abigail (Rodriguez), arrive at Saint Mary’s hospital. Abigail has their baby prematurely but dies as a result. The baby is put on a ventilator until she can breathe for herself. Soon after, the hospital is evacuated. Nolan stays behind with his daughter as the ventilator she’s in can’t be moved. When the power fails, Nolan has to hook up the ventilator to a battery charger, but the ventilator battery is faulty and Nolan has to hand crank the charger every three minutes. But as time goes by, the battery retains less and charge, and Nolan’s attempts to get help are hampered by having to return to the charger every couple of minutes or so. And then he realises there are looters in the hospital…
Hours, despite its disaster-of-the-week TV-movie trappings is a reasonably well produced human drama that acts as a showcase for the talents of the late Paul Walker. Once the hospital is evacuated, the movie does its best to ramp up the tension but whatever happens, and wherever Hayes goes in the hospital (including at one point, the roof), he always makes it back in time to crank up the charger, even when he’s knocked unconscious trying to restart the hospital’s generator. This hampers the movie and reduces Walker to running down the same corridor over and over, and being filmed using the crank over and over. It makes for a frustrating watch, and writer/director Heisserer never overcomes this basic flaw in his script. Also, Hayes isn’t really required to be too resourceful, and deals with each successive problem with relative ease.
With the tension never reaching a level that leaves the ending in any doubt, Hours is only occasionally compelling. Walker puts in a good performance, and Rodriguez (seen mostly in flashback as Hayes tells his daughter how they met etc.) does well in support, while Heisserer directs capably enough but without any visual flair.
Rating: 5/10 – a lacklustre drama that never really puts its premature newborn in any real jeopardy, Hours coasts along for much of its running time; one for fans of Walker, but otherwise, of only passing interest.