Director: Eric Heisserer.

Starring: Genesis Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Nick Gomez, Kerry Cahill.

Certificate: 12A.

Running Time: 97 minutes.

Synopsis: A father struggles to keep his infant daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 

The recent sad loss of Paul Walker has cast more light on the career of an actor perhaps best known for his role of cop-turned-outlaw Brian O’Conner in the FAST & FURIOUS franchise. His underrated work in the likes of PLEASANTVILLE, RUNNING SCARED and most recently, VEHICLE 19, has reminded many that there were more emotional traits to Walker than fast cars, fit girls and exciting action-packed set-pieces. His charity, Reach Out Worldwide, funded first responders to aid those in desperate need following cataclysmic natural disasters. And so, HOURS, a film he also produced, must have held a dear place in his heart.

Walker puts just about everything into the role of Nolan Hayes, rock solid in this personal tale set against 2005’s tragic events. Following the infamous arrival of Hurricane Katrina, he plays a man fighting for the life of his newborn daughter in the aftermath of a devastated New Orleans. What works to its advantage is the lean script that does away with overly-bloated sentimentally as his harrowing journey begins with the tragic loss of beautiful wife, Abigail (Genesis Rodriguez). He’s barely got time to process his grief before he’s forced to remain in an impossible situation – a powerless hospital where his new baby remains on life support.

Thrown into the immediate panic of his wife being rushed into early labour, it’s a tense opening dealt an even more crushing blow when hearing the tragic news. Walker is superbly passionate, soon realising he must be strong for his young one. As the patients and staff begin to leave over the realisation that the power will soon cut out, your fingernails will become less and less over the course of the running time. Of course, there is a lot of contrived plotting to get us to the crutch of Nolan’s desperate predicament, yet it’s to Walker’s credit that he makes it believable, effectively carrying the whole film on his shoulders aside from sporadic flashbacks to his past relationship.

Also deserving of praise is first time director Eric Heisserer. Previously better known as the screenwriter of surprisingly decent genre entries FINAL DESTINATION 5 and 2011’s THE THING prequel, his direction and character-driven script offer an eerie essence of the horrors of isolation, while looking at the despair of both those looking to help and those pushed into capitalising on such anguish all to remain of this Earth. It’s a strong indie debut and Walker’s fans should be proud at the message both star and director are putting across; the world is a beast that cannot be tamed, so can’t we all just get along?

3 Stars

HOURS will receive a limited U.S. release on Friday 13th December.