Finestkind is a 2023 crime thriller film with adequate portions of drama as well, as it presents two estranged brothers meeting for the first time after many years as adults. The plot then veers into financial trouble and the desperate turn towards crime, along with the changing dynamics between Tom and Charlie, the two brothers in question. Finestkind is not always very consistently entertaining, and it has its dull moments. Overall, the film presents a rather mediocre experience.
Plot Summary: What is the film about?
Finestkind takes place in the seaside port town of New Bedford, where the titular phrase is popular among some folks, even though there is no specific meaning to the phrase. Charlie, a young man in his early twenties, reaches the dock to meet up with his elder brother, Tom, with whom his family has not been very close. The two are stepbrothers, with Charlie’s father, Gary, not being very fond of Tom, and it is mostly because of this that even his mother, Donna, is not close with Tom anymore. But Charlie has always wanted to spend time with his elder brother, especially since the distance grew between them, and now that he is done with his college education, the young man finds the chance to do so.
Although it is now time for him to move on to university, and he is intelligent enough to have been selected at the Boston University Law School, Charlie wants to reject that life. Instead, he is more interested in Tom’s line of work—fishing out in the open seas. He makes his desires very clear to Tom within minutes of their meeting, hoping that the elder brother will hire him on his boat as a deckhand. But Tom knows the risks and low profits involved in his job, and so he immediately rejects the brother’s plan. This does not deter Charlie, though, as he makes his way onto the boat and makes acquaintance with the rest of the crew. Tom allows his brother to go along on one fishing job, but he does not want to let this become a regular affair.
But things go wrong on this fishing trip, as the boat breaks down, forcing the crew members to jump out onto an emergency raft before it eventually sinks. Tom, Charlie, and the rest of the crew have to spend hours on the open sea before some rescue workers come and save them, but they are also thrilled by the experience in a carefree manner. Despite the dangerous and risky incident, Charlie is still very convinced that he wants to remain with his brother and be a fisherman. The young man restates his desire even to his father when the man, a lawyer, comes to talk some sense into him. Charlie eventually stays back, and Tom also lets his brother join his crew, still not knowing what fate awaited them.
How did Tom and Charlie get pulled into criminal acts?
After the boat that Tom used capsizes in the sea, the man is left without any means to go fishing. He tries to resolve the issue at the office of the established fishing company that he works with, but the meeting does not provide any solution. Tom suspects that the company, which is also responsible for the maintenance of all boats, had neglected his boat, which had caused the issue with its engine. But the obstinate manager of the company puts all the blame on Tom, and their meeting naturally leads to a hot-headed altercation, even getting to a physical scuffle. It is Charlie who has to calm his brother down and then offer him some solace in this time of need. The difference between the two brothers’ lives is quite well put in Finestkind, as Charlie has never had to deal with issues like these, where one’s livelihood is suddenly at risk because of no fault of their own.
Tom’s father, Eldridge, had always been a fisherman in his life, and his romance with Donna was not affected by this profession in their initial days. But the love had probably fizzled out, with other problems creeping into the marriage, and so Donna eventually left Eldridge and later married Gary. This had changed her life drastically, for Gary was a lawyer with generational wealth and influence, and so she moved from some neighborhood close to the port to a wealthy and affluent suburb. It is not that Donna has forgotten her roots or that she has grown averse to her old life, which is evident towards the end of the film as she welcomes Mabel with warmth and love. But this change of scene did affect Charlie, who had been born into affluence and had been raised amidst privilege. It was perhaps while seeing and listening to the more adventurous life of his elder brother that Charlie wanted to escape the safeguarded life to get a different perspective.
Eldridge, who has seemingly not been a very supportive father to Tom either, now appears in his son’s life and lets him use his own boat, named Finestkind. The boat had been everything to Eldridge, as he spent most of his life dedicated to his profession, and Tom is delighted to be able to use it. But the difficult life of fishermen, with no significant wealth or property of their own, is once again emphasized as Tom decides to step beyond the bounds of the law for some extra profit. Fishing for clams in the deep sea, the man and his crew cross over international borders to illegally enter Canadian seas and catch huge loads from there. It seems like the team often carries out such illegal acts, but the adventure this time has immediate consequences. A Canadian Coast Guard airplane catches them in the act and, as is later revealed, photographs them as evidence. The team returns to New Bedford, hoping that the authorities might have let them go, but right upon entering the port, they are stopped by US authorities, who have been informed by the Canadian neighbors.
The authorities seize the boat, along with the entire trip’s catch, and Tom fears that his father’s fishing license might also be revoked. To make matters worse, Tom and Charlie learn that Eldridge is actually suffering from cancer, and the man does not have very long to live. The brothers are heartbroken about the fact that the elderly Eldridge’s most prized possession was stuck in police custody, and they do not inform the man about the incident yet. Instead, Tom tries to find ways to bring the boat back, and he even returns to the snobbish manager of the fishing company, to no avail. By this time, Charlie had gotten close with a young woman named Mabel, who often hung out at the same bar as the crew. Their friendship developed into love very soon, and as they started a relationship, it was revealed that Mabel’s mother was actually a drug peddler.
At the official hearing, Tom is informed that all the clams from the day’s catch would be confiscated, and the boat would remain in custody unless a fine of $100,000 was paid. The amount is a huge one for the likes of Tom, and he grows terribly concerned about the whole situation when Charlie comes up with a solution. Through the contacts of Mabel’s mother, he brokers a deal with a drug smuggler named Pete Weeks, who needs a stash of heroin to be collected from the sea and brought back to him. Despite his initial reluctance, Tom is forced to agree to the deal, as this one-time mission would fetch them $100,000, with which he could free his father’s boat.
Who had snitched on the fishermen?
On the team’s very first meeting with Pete Weeks, the dangerous nature of the drug gangster is evident, which poses an even bigger threat against Tom and the others. But the helpless situation of the men also forces them to take up the mission, and the group makes their way out to sea. The brother-in-law of one of the crewmen had a big favor to return, and this favor was used to get hold of the boat that the men now use. Late at night, amidst pitch darkness, they go out to sea and spot the airplane that is supposed to drop the drugs. The team is able to secure the package and is rather stunned and shocked to see the kilograms of heroin that they are about to take back to port.
The collection goes without a hitch, but keeping such high amounts of drugs does take a mental toll on the team. Finally, when the time arrives for the drug to be taken to Weeks at the same donut joint where he hangs out, trouble arrives in the most unexpected manner. Only Tom and Charlie ride in the car to deliver the drugs when suddenly two police cars with sirens and tinted windows block them off. The men coming out of the cars initially seem to be policemen, but soon, they turn out to be impersonators who had planned this entire heist. Tom and Charlie have no option but to let the heroin be taken away, even though they realize that the men are not actual police officers but goons.
This loot causes even more trouble for the group, as they are now left with no drugs and a hefty amount to be paid back to Pete Weeks, who refuses to believe them. To the drug smuggler, it seems like Tom and his men have stolen his drugs after keeping the $20,000 paid in advance. The crook uses his own cruel and twisted ways to threaten the brothers and their crewmates as he takes the pregnant wife of one of the crewmates hostage at their own house. It is clear to all that someone must have tipped off the goons about the drug transfer, and now that there is no way for Tom to get the money within a day, he decides to go full rogue and find the snitch in his team.
The first obvious suspicion is on Mabel, since she was the one who introduced the two sides, but she is very soon counted off the list. This is because Weeks himself had already interrogated the woman, leaving her badly bruised, but with the confirmation that she had no role to play in the heist. Thus, Tom now suspects his own crewmates and goes knocking at their doors one after another to find the real snitch. Charlie is informed of this by Nunes, and by the time he tracks down Tom, the man is already at the house of another crewmate, Skeemo. At his house, Skeemo is found under the heavy influence of heroin, and it does not take much effort to make him spill the real truth.
It was Skeemo who had snitched on his team and had informed the drug peddlers he bought his fix from about the stash of heroin that Tom and Charlie had been delivering. Skeemo admits that his addiction had made him do this, and as Tom is angrily about to kill the man, Charlie stops his brother. Killing the snitch would further push Tom into a life of crime with no exit, so Charlie prevents the murder.
What Finally happens to the brothers?
Although the identity of the snitch is revealed and Skeemo is obviously ousted from the group, the money that is owed to Pete Weeks still needs to be paid off. Despite all their best efforts, Tom and Charlie were unable to come up with the money, but by this time, Charlie had admitted all of their troubles to Eldridge. The man, who perhaps carried the guilt of not being an ideal father despite always loving his son, decided to step into the matter. Since he was already terminally ill and had little fear of the consequences, Eldridge goes to the donut shop and requests that Weeks forgive his son. The elderly man even offers to pay $13,000, which is all his life’s savings, but the drug smuggler laughs off his words. As Weeks abuses Eldridge and is about to force him out of the shop, the man pulls out a gun and kills all the gangsters in the place, including Pete Weeks. This scene, and the quick reflexes of Eldridge in using the gun in particular, probably suggest that he had been in such unlawful violent situations earlier as well.
While Eldridge gets arrested by the police, he manages to save his son from the very difficult situation with the drug lord, making up for his absence from Tom’s life earlier. Charlie now decides to continue being a fisherman along with Tom, and he asks his father for help with regard to the money still owed to the authorities. With a rather unrealistic change of opinion, Gary agrees to give his son the money as an investment in the fishing business. Charlie’s romance with Mabel also continues as he introduces his girlfriend to his parents.
During Finestkind‘s ending, Tom and Charlie free the Finestkind boat and give Eldridge a fitting send-off as the elderly man is being taken away in a police van. While the son continues his profession of fishing and carries forward the legacy of his father, Eldridge would not spend too long behind bars before cancer would finally take his life.