A story of life, death and birth in the midst of a disaster paints the swansong of late actor Paul Walker
One of the happiest days of a young father-to-be’s life spirals out of control when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans.
Before sunrise on Aug 29, 2005, Nolan Hayes (played by Paul Walker) arrives at a New Orleans hospital with his pregnant wife, Abigail (Genesis Rodriguez), who has gone into early labour.
What should be one of the happiest days of Nolan’s life quickly takes a turn for the worst when the delivery goes tragically wrong, and Hurricane Katrina ravages the hospital, forcing an evacuation.
Told to stay with his child, who is on a ventilator, and await transfer by ambulance, Nolan and his new-born are soon cut off from the world by power outages and rising flood waters.
When no one returns to help, Nolan faces one life-and-death decision after another, fighting to keep his daughter alive, as minute-by-agonising-minute passes, becoming unimaginable “Hours”.
Tough Times & Tragedy
Hours is the last full feature film of the late Fast and Furious star, Paul Walker. Producer Peter Safran was impressed by his performance as Nolan.
“I was blown away by Paul Walker,” Safran said.
“In the process of getting to know him on Vehicle 19, I saw that he was incredibly bright, very articulate and had so much potential that had not been tapped into,” he said.
“It’s very rewarding; a really great experience to take an actor who has those resources and tap into them, to let him use them,” he added.
Filmed on location in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, Hours is a suspense thriller, inspired by true events about Katrina, with the hurricane serving as both a catalyst and the background to Nolan’s fight for survival.
Walker, who left behind a teenage daughter after his demise, said that the film connected with him on “a far deeper level” than he originally thought.
In Hours, Abigail dies during childbirth, of complications from preeclampsia, before the hurricane hits.
A Struggle for Survival
Nolan hears about Abigail’s death as the doctor walks him over to the maternity Intensive Care Unit, to look at his new-born child.
Blindsided, Nolan looks through the glass at his four-pound premature daughter, in an incubator, with tubes running in and out of her impossibly small body.
In that instance, Nolan’s life as he knew it had been transformed beyond recognition: becoming a shattered widower and first-time father in one fell swoop.
The doctor tells him his daughter is breathing with the aid of a ventilator but, in a matter of 48 hours, she is expected to be able to breathe on her own.
“Nolan’s life is shattered; his relationship with his baby is fractured,” Walker said.
“It’s incomplete, because a key component in his life, his real partner, the one who gave him a sense of completion, is gone,” he said.
And, in a few short hours, when the hospital is evacuated following the hurricane, Nolan’s world would be turned upside down once again.
Moment by moment, as time passes and Nolan struggles to adapt, persevere and survive against all odds, one vital question looms: What would you do to keep your child alive?
Director: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez and Nick Gomez
Run Length: 97 min
Release: Jan 9