5 stars! if only just for the photography, even just the scenes of waves splashing on the rocks. But there's so much emotion here, too- massive waves of emotion, full of life, pain, salt and tears. Incredibly great cinema, from the very end of the Silent Era.
A new form of experiencing time (combining slow, fast or reverse motion as well as repeated flashbacks), an overwhelming capacity of giving psychological and emotional qualities to space (especially to the sea!) and a fragmented style of cutting (that explores a dynamic space-time unity full of intervals that produce complex metonymic associations) give origin to a truly radical form of thinking cinema and reality.
Epstein never stops reminding the viewer the importance of the (social and natural) environment for the understanding of the story. Bazin defined neorrealism as a style that keeps the integrity of reality, and doesn't break it in order to impose meaning. I think that idea can be perceived in Finis Terrae. Nature is described as indifferent to human struggle. People can be both cruel and heroic.