'In the Heart of the Sea'
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw,Brendan Gleeson
'In the Heart of the Sea' poster. Pic/Santa Banta
Tagged as 'Based on the incredible true story that inspired Moby Dick' this film is a visual effects happy retelling of a real life survival story. It has it's 'Perfect Storm' tricks working at full blast but the heart of the matter is lost in all that competently executed grandiose grand-standing.
This film has Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw), an impoverished wannabe writer desperately searching for his own 'great American Novel' impersonate Nathaniel Hawthorne (for a bit) in order to gain access to a story of a great mid-sea adventure fraught with life-threatening disasters. So it's about the sad fate of the Nantucket ship, Essex, which was destroyed by the enormous sperm whale way back in 1820 with its surviving crew having to spend several months drifting in the ocean and alternatively finding land before they can be rescued. It's basically a story of hardships and courage and comes across interestingly if not completely engaging in nature. The story has been adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick's non-fiction account and is helmed by Ron Howard in typically variegated fashion.
Melville turns up on the doorstep of a hard-drinking former seaman named Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) and offers cash for a detailed description of the most traumatic ordeal he's ever experienced. Flashback to 30 years earlier, 1820, when the young Nickerson (Tom Holland) a mere lad at that time, was among the 21 young whalers on board the Essex, sent out from Nantucket on a two-and-half-year voyage around the coast of South America to bring back barrels of whale oil. As the story goes, Tom bears witness to a historic mid-sea struggle between man and legend, frayed on the edges by the tensions between the ship's untested 29-year-old captain, George Pollard Jr. (Benjamin Walker), and his brash and confident first mate, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth).
There are portions in this film which keep you completely engrossed and involved and there are those that remain listless , as though unanchored to a steady rhythm or pace. Despite the great adventure at the centre of it all, there's not much awe, surprise or suspense to be had here. And it's all to do with the inconsistent scripting and helming. While effects are top notch and visually appealing there's very little thrill in the experience. And that for an adventure/disaster movie is a great dampener.
Watch the trailer of 'In the Heart of the Sea'
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