In the Heart of the Sea

"Excellent"

In the Heart of the Sea Review


With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster that might struggle to find an audience. Basically, it's aimed at fans of more thoughtful, personal stories of tenacity and survival, but it's shot with a massive special effects budget that sometimes seems to swamp the drama. Still, it's involving and moving. And it's also fascinatingly based on the true events that inspired Moby Dick.

The story is framed in 1850 as novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) visits an ageing sailor named Tom (Brendan Gleeson) to quiz him about a momentous event in his past that he has never spoken of. Flash back to 1820 Nantucket, and Tom (Tom Holland) is a rookie crew member on the whaling ship Essex, working under the posh, privileged Captain George (Benjamin Walker) and his able but low-class first mate Owen (Chris Hemsworth). As these these two leaders clash against each other, the ship sails off for what will be a very long journey. Eventually they head into the Pacific in search of a mythical pod of whales. But when they find it, they run afoul of a gigantic white whale that takes their arrival personally, sinking their ship and pursuing the survivors in their lifeboats.

All of this is staged as an epic battle between humanity and nature, with layers of interest in the way these men strain to survive against unimaginable odds. It's a riveting story, beautifully shot and rendered with immersive effects. And the cast members create complex characters who are profoundly changed by their experience. Not only is there mammoth action, but there's plenty of barbed interaction and even some strongly emotional moments that bring the themes home to a modern audience. Sometimes this aspect feels a bit corny, as clearly whalers at the time wouldn't feel remorse about killing one of these majestic creatures. But we would.

Director Ron Howard isn't the subtlest filmmaker out there, but he finds some refreshing light moments along the way, and he also keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, propelling the characters into a series of outrageous challenges that bring to mind both Life of Pi and Castaway. In this sense, the actors' performances are largely physical, as they waste away while being stalked by this enormous, angry whale. The film tends to make this predator such a righteous creature that we almost root for it. Indeed, the film's central theme is that nature will always put arrogant mankind in his place. And by ignoring the usual demands of formulaic Hollywood blockbusters, Howard has created an intriguingly introspective epic that makes us think rather than cheer.

Watch the trailer for In The Heart Of The Sea here:



In the Heart of the Sea

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th December 2015

Box Office USA: $11.1M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Imagine Entertainment, Cott Productions, Enelmar Productions, A.I.E.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 64 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Owen Chase, as Matthew Joy, as George Pollard, as Herman Melville, as Young Thomas Nickerson, as Old Thomas Nickerson, as Paul Macy, Frank Dillane as Owen Coffin, as Benjamin Lawrence, as Peggy, Paul Anderson as Thomas Chappel, as Mrs. Nickerson, as Spanish Captain, as Isaac Cole, Andrew Crayford as Customs Officer, Claudia Newman as Nantucket Townswoman, Daniel Westwood as Nantucket Passenger, osy ikhile as Richard Peterson, Edward Ashley as Barzallai Ray, as Nantucket Townswoman

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