review for White Squall on AllMovie

White Squall (1996)
by Michael Costello review

This clichéd tale of boys learning to be men at sea is another one of the unfathomable decisions in Ridley Scott's up and down career. The fact-based script about a shipboard summer school tells the all too familiar story of a group of self-indulgent adolescents who need to be taught the importance of discipline and teamwork at sea under the stern eye of Jeff Bridges as Captain Christopher Sheldon. Unfortunately, the Carribean journey, with its predictable travails, fails to generate much interest. The characters of the boys are never developed beyond a rudimentary level. The courtroom sequence weakens the film even further, seeming both tangential and ambiguous. As with almost any Ridley Scott film, however, the photography is truly magnificent, and when the eponymous storm finally transpires, it's truly a wonder to behold. Bridges does a fine job with his rather limited character, and Balthazar Getty and Ryan Phillippe also stand out among the teenage crew.