The last time US director Brian Helgeland was behind the camera was for 2015’s double trouble Legend, starring Tom Hardy as London’s notorious Kray twins.

His follow up is one far closer to home, literally, set as it is in his home of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

boom reviews Finestkind
OK, Saturday? Sunday? Monday?...

Having gotten a place studying law at the prestigious Boston University, Charlie (Toby Wallace) is expected to leave his home at the end of the summer. He has family ties however, pulling him in another direction; half-brother Tom (Ben Foster), whom he shares a mother with, is a fisherman, taking on the elements out in the often rough Atlantic. Charlie decides he wants to spend some time with him, on a boat with his crew, which Tom is against, at first, but eventually comes around.

It’s gruelling work for sure, but it shouldn’t be that difficult. However the brothers manage to get into trouble, fishing where they shouldn’t, which leads them into darker, more troubling waters.

boom reviews Finestkind
Say again I should try shaving, I dare you.

Helgeland is probably better known for his writing abilities than directing, having written the screenplays for both Mystic River and L.A. Confidential, for which he won an Oscar.

It’s ironic then that his latest film, which he also wrote, is such a jumbled mess.

It’s clear it’s a tale about brotherly love that he’s keen on delivering, but it just takes some incredulous turns along the way.

The first half develops the brother’s story, and sets them out to sea together, in treacherous conditions.

He then felt that a love interest was needed, so up pops Jenna Ortega to tick that specific box.

But now it feels slightly unbalanced, so he introduces Tommy Lee Jones as Tom’s father.

And then, well, it just spirals out of control, into disappointingly generic waters, and steering further away from its first hour of setting things up rather nicely. Considering his considerable talent, this is a travesty by his standards, especially as the root of the story had potential.

It’s saved, in part, by some warm performances, especially by that of the charming British-born Australian actor Wallace, who continues his ascent to screen heartthrob-in-waiting status. He and Ortega make a good on screen couple too, it’s just a shame that Helgeland didn’t explore that particular relationship further.

Foster delivers just what you expect from one of America’s finest character actors around, which is a solid, complicated character with depth.

And then there’s Jones, who never fails to improve whatever he’s appearing in, as a frail father figure, struggling with a disconnect with his son.

It’s disappointing then that the wishy washy script didn’t live up to all their combined efforts.

The word finestkind is apparently one used by locals of New Bedford, that’s meaning morphs depending on its usage. However, it’s unlikely it can be used in any positive way to describe this film, which is far from being Helgeland’s finest work.

we give this three out of five