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

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.