Saturday morning TV sucks. Let me repeat that–Saturday morning TV sucks. Gone are the cartoons that kept kids occupied so Mom and Dad could get some work done around the house. Gone are Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scooby-Doo and even Jane and the Dragon (I loved that one). In it’s place is some dippsie-do man dressed up as a Steve Irwin guy from the Outback and some woman who seems to run things from the living room of some house with a big porch. There’s umpteen infomercials until the college football games, but that’s about it. Soooo…….it was back to Netflix for me while waiting for Hubby to come back from the corner store with a blueberry muffin. This time I chose “Hours” starring Paul Walker and Genesis Rodriguez rated PG-13 and 97 minutes in length.
If you’ve only seen the late Paul Walker in all those ‘Fast and Furious’ movies, get ready to see just how good an actor he was.
The movie begins in the late night/early morning hours on August 29, 2005 in a New Orleans hospital where Nolan Hayes (Paul Walker) has brought his pregnant wife Abigal (Genesis Rodriguez) who has gone into premature labor (five weeks early). She is on a gurney being wheeled down the hallway into the delivery room and Nolan is told to go back to the waiting room. A few hours later a nurse comes looking for him and tells him to follow her to a different waiting room. By this time Katrina is in full force and one of the lobby windows shatters. Waiting for what seems like forever, Nolan is approached by the doctor who tells him that his wife was delivered of a daughter but has unfortunately bled out and died. While Nolan is trying unsuccessfully to process this information he is told that his daughter had to be put into a ventilator (incubator) because she hasn’t started breathing on her own and must stay in there for 48 hours while receiving nutrients intravenously. Nolan asks the doctor how they’ll know when she’s breathing on her own and the doctor explains that she’ll start to cry. He says he’s heard that first cry after 48 hours before and it’s the best sound he’s ever heard. Nolan is then left alone in the room with his daughter as the doctor tells him he’ll be checking in on them both from time to time. There’s little for him to do as the nursing staff takes care of both the ventilator and the IV bag. It’s at this time that the levees are breached and the flood waters flow.
Hearing a commotion out in the hallway Nolan takes a look out the doorway at all these people coming down the hall and asks them what’s going on. He’s told about the flood waters and the decision to evacuate the hospital as a precaution but the doctor will be coming back. Only he never does. Once the hallway clears, Nolan goes down to the cafeteria for some much needed food and finds there is no food, there is no coffee, there are no people except for one cook who gives him a wrapped package of salami. Nolan gives the cook some bills in exchange for quarters to use in the vending machines. Armed with different bags of chips, candy bars and multiple cans of Coke, Nolan returns to Room 320 and his daughter.
What happens next is a total power failure and a failure of the hospital’s back-up generator system leaving the ventilator on battery power only. When that power gets used up, Nolan goes in search of another battery but comes back with a hand crank generator. He hooks it up and starts to crank but the battery will only hold a recharge for 3 minutes at a time. When the alarm starts pinging for a new IV bag, Nolan goes to the medicine closet, breaks the glass and grabs all the IV bags with the orange snap top and returns to the room. He changes the IV bag, and his daughter’s diaper, and rests for a minute until the alarm signals for another cranking. This is his life….protecting his daughter for 48 hours on his own.
There are times in this movie when you have to suspend your disbelief. How can a man alone in an evacuated hospital spending his time in Room 320 possibly hear a faint noise coming from the hospital lobby? How can a man responsible for turning a hand crank generator every three minutes go searching for the hospital generator room? How can a man go up on the roof when he hears a rescue chopper leave the hand crank generator when it now has to be cranked every two minutes? And once he forces the sliding doors of the hospital open and sees all the flooding ever get back to Room 320 in time to turn that damn crank? He does try using the radio in the abandoned ambulance in front of the hospital to contact someone who can help, but is making his way back inside when he hears a voice. Unfortunately he doesn’t hear what the voice says and ends up hearing a prerecorded informational loop instead of the instructions to turn to channel 12.
I found this movie riveting to the point that even though I could hit the pause button and go to the bathroom, I didn’t. This movie has the feel of a based on a true story to it, but thankfully it isn’t. The herculean effort to save his daughter from everything that could end her life practically before it has even begun would best be left to the real Hercules.
And as is my wont, I’m not telling you everything that happened….I would rather you find that out for yourself, but I give this movie my own thumbs up plus a box of popcorn and a blueberry muffin.
They say there’s one more movie that Walker completed before his tragic death and I can’t wait to see it but, I doubt it could top this one.
Thanks for reading Musings From the Bench Movie Review–“Hours”
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