The waves are high as houses, the winds roar, the rain pours and stuck in the tempestuous middle of it all is fisherman George Clooney’s boat.

Based on a true story, the teacup-sized plot is swamped by the stormy special effects.

However, Clooney and key crewman Mark Wahlberg still make us care about their characters and director Wolfgang Petersen paints their struggle on a truly awesome canvas.

What’s especially impressive is the way in which he meticulously sets the scene for the impending heavy weather. There’s a palpable sense of togetherness to Clooney’s fishing community as they sit around and talk about nothing in particular in their local bar.

Rival skipper Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Wahlberg’s sweetheart Diane Lane and Clooney’s fellow crewmen John C Reilly and William Fichtner all make their roles count, too, and the ending is both heroic and completely uncompromising.