Saturday, 12 December 2015

In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

Greedy oil industry craving for whale oil. Enlisted sailors. A ship sets out. Families bidden goodbye. Sails are set. Harpoons sharpened. Authoritative captain vs aspirant first mate. Grumbling crew. Days at sea. 2000 barrels of oil to fill. Then a whale hammers into their lives...     

Based on a true story that inspired Moby Dick, the epic 1851 English novel by Herman Melville, In the Heart of the Sea is noted director Ron Howard's latest release.It recounts horrifying events during an expedition undertaken on the American whaling ship Essex in 1820.

The industrial revolution era, stone-faced businessmen, hapless sailors, killing at sea and catastrophic consequences are impressively recreated. In the Heart of the Sea does depict the events with sincerity, making some clever use of 3D. Great action adventure in parts, evocative moments are few in between though.

There are no righteous heroes here, in desperate times, the protagonists take extreme measures to stay alive. That is not the grouse. Howard has championed survival tales before (Apollo 13).
It is all satisfyingly entertaining, but not in a thrilling, heart-wrenching way. 

The movie's quiet, intense understatement works in the Melville sections, but not in its core tale. Still worth a watch for the power and scale.      

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