The Jenna Ortega Crime Thriller On Paramount+ Way Better Than Its Reputation

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

Critics didn’t love the movie Finestkind, released in 2023 and starring Ben Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jenna Ortega, among others. But fans disagreed, and I have to say I’m with the fans on this one. It’s a good movie that covers an interesting topic and keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

New England Fisherman Thriller

Finestkind was written and directed by Brian Helgeland, a former fisherman himself, who used his own experiences and those of his cohort to write an up-close-and-personal account of the life of the men who spend days on a fishing boat off the coast of the eastern seaboard. Then, he added some crime, some romance, and some thrills into what ended up being a family drama. 

The Underrated Cast

In Finestkind, Ben Foster plays Tom Eldridge, a hardened, roughneck of a fisherman who greets his much younger, fresh-out-of-college half-brother, Charlie (played by Toby Wallace), on the docks one morning.

It turns out Tom and Charlie have entirely different backgrounds as their mother, Donna (played by Lolita Davidovich) had first been with a fisherman, Ray (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and is now with a fancy, wealthy lawyer, Dennis (played by Tim Daly). 

Boston Accents Are The Best

As a result, the boys take after their fathers; Tom is working class, hangs in the bar with the fishing crew he captains, and is rough around the edges. Charlie is refined, headed to law school after the summer, and lives with his parents in a large beach house.

The problem is that Charlie wants to spend time with his brother, working on the fishing boat, and after a brief attempt to dissuade him, Tom finally agrees to employ his younger brother, slapping him lightly in the face with his gloves and exclaiming in his Boston accent, “finestkind.” 

Slow-Burn Slice Of Life Goes Off The Rails

You soon find out that “finestkind,” pronounced as two words, finest kind, can mean a lot of things. It is the slang of the working-class fisherman and other locals in this region of the Boston coast. Charlie falls right in with Tom and his crew and takes a right to fish.

Their first venture ends in a fishing boat accident that is due to poor maintenance on the part of the boat’s owner, and though the men all survive, Tom goes for the head of the owner in his fancy office, who is only saved by Charlie jumping in and pulling Tom away.

From that point, Ray offers Tom the use of his boat, named, of course, Finestkind. The captain and his crew jump aboard for their next 10 days out, and you’re still wondering at this point where the crime is in this crime thriller.

A Girl From The Wrong Side Of The Tracks

I think, honestly, Helgeland wanted to share so much of the joy and raw authenticity of the fishing life, so he does spend a good hour just showing audiences the daily ins and outs. 

Charlie becomes part of the finestkind boys, falling in love with Mabel (Ortega), a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and arguing with his father about law school. The brothers both love their mother dearly, and you can tell from the emotional scenes that both fathers are good men and love their sons, despite their flaws and misguided choices. 

Worth Your Time To Stream


Once the scene is fully set in Finestkind, the drama really takes off. The brothers and the rest of the team get mixed up in international waters, boat seizures, drug running, and so much more. The last half of the film is a mashup of sex, violence, drugs, and, sadly, very little rock and roll. However, the actors deliver on all accounts, the story is believable, and the heroes are flawed and still loveable. 

Finestkind is a movie worth watching, and if you’ve got Paramount+, you can stream it the next chance you get.