Cert: 12A Runtime: 122 mins Director: Ron Howard Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Wishaw and Brendan Gleeson
The tragedy of the Essex is the story of men. And a Demon
Probably the original telling of Jaws is the tale of Moby Dick. Every great myth has it’s origins and this is the tale that began the myth. Ron Howard has originally penned the film for a March 2015 release but in a last minute change moved to the winter. Basically he wanted an awards contender, it hasn’t done well commercially but when Howard releases anything you have to witness it. He is for me an old head and a very traditional film-maker. The big question is what is In the Heart of the Sea about? In 1820, crewmen (Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy) aboard the New England vessel Essex face a harrowing battle for survival when a whale of mammoth size and strength attacks with force, crippling their ship and leaving them adrift in the ocean. Pushed to their limits and facing storms, starvation, panic and despair, the survivors must resort to the unthinkable to stay alive. Their incredible tale ultimately inspires author Herman Melville to write “Moby-Dick.
In the Heart of the Sea has a vintage Hollywood aesthetic but it lacks a punch in the emotional core of those films. This film does not exactly live up to its full potential, and it has a few shortcomings in some areas. Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Tom Holland and Cillian Murphy are gifted with some brilliant characters, and the performances they deliver really make their characters lively. The rest of the supporting characters on the other hand, are a little dull and lack depth. The film, however, manages to fuel itself with visionary storytelling, enticing suspense, and some captivating visuals that somewhat make up for its flawed characters. The story nicely paints the true events that took place and the tragedy that struck in the process. Highlighting the details of the conflict for leadership between Owen Chase and Captain Pollard, the devastation of the whale attack, and the aftermath the crew members were plagued with. The thunderstorm sequence and the scenes of the killer whales wrecking havoc are decently shot, and this is mostly thanks to the grade A camera-work and the stunning CGI on the whales and the ocean. The intensity of these scenes is so strong and the suspense really heightens the tone of these scenes. When the film reaches it second half, it becomes more dramatic and somber as the characters began struggling to the survive the aftermath of their ill-fated voyage. From there on, the pacing slows down drastically, but manages to keep the story alive. I can’t quite say the same for the characters though. If it had more depth to it I’m sure it would of succeeded.