Moby Dick is a very popular and critically acclaimed novel written in the 19th century written by Herman Melville. The novel has been adapted on big screen several times including a version that took place during the modern day. What is more enthralling is the fact that the inspiration behind Melville’s imagination is based on real life events.
Herman Melville (Ben Whinshaw), an aspiring novelist, visits the last survivor of the Essex, Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson). After facing persuasion from his wife (Michelle Fairley), Nickerson narrates the tragic events that lead to the destruction of the Essex, leading to days of hardship for the survivors. Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is hired as the first mate of the Essex under the captaincy of George Pollard Jr (Benjamin Walker), who inherited the job due to his family legacy. They are asked to get 2000 barrels of whale oil as a part of their business. Pollard is a very doubtful person who makes all the wrong decisions backed by his greed and ego. Chase is more agile, mastery and makes every move with adroitness. Their difference in opinion and bipolar nature in terms of making decisions adds tension to the vessel. Young Nickerson (Tom Holland) is made to do the difficult job motivated, sometimes taunted by Chase. After meeting a Spanish Captain in Ecuador while taking a break from the voyage, they learn about a large white whale that is malevolent at the same time, worth their hard-work and journey. But the confrontation with the whale did not turn out the way they had in prospect.
At the very beginning, Nickerson reveals that the story behind the voyage of the Essex is not a pleasant one, indirectly implying the tragic aspect of it. It was too early to reveal that detail as we will anticipate what is going to happen. Just like in most of the biopics, the beginning was really intense with considerable action sequences and effects. Once all their work explodes and goes under the sea, the sailors are forced to be in a difficult situation with less food, water, heat of the day and chills during the night. The survivors were forced to commit abominations, including cannibalism, in order to survive. Ron Howard captured the soul of the theme with his vision backed by exhilarating cinematography and editing. Chris Hemsworth has profound presence due to his charisma and the movie has his best performance till date. We identify with Owen Chase more than anyone else, Hemsworth’s portrayal makes this character more likable.
Benjamin Walker’s acting is nothing compared to his counterpart and most of the cast members, who were all able to add intensity. Cillian Murphy delivered his standard performance and he is lively as usual. His combination scenes with Chris Hemsworth were impressive. The actor who deserved the cake’s cherry is Brendan Gleeson for the way he stood out with his passionate narration and his portrayal of uneasiness, due to the traumatic events of the past, is on point. Whinshaw gave his best, owing to the fact that he shared screen time with Gleeson, making the scene look livelier.
Ron Howard’s direction made the movie, the sequences looked tense and believable. The cinematography captured the essence of the action, the intensity of the hunting scenes and the emotions of the character, due to which the effort from the actors are hardly needed. Roque Banos composed melodies of a very high standard as well energizing soundtrack for the action to work well. Any film with Ron Howard’s name written across it has a minimum guarantee in terms of quality. I was taken aback after knowing that this movie flopped at box office. In the heart of the sea is not a perfect film, a lot of polishing could have improved the plot. The ending of Nickerson’s narration looked too drastic for the buildup of the story and it would have been a lot better if more of Chase’s life after the ordeal was included.If you are expecting more action and a monster movie theme, then you will be disappointed as it is a survival flick with traced of thrills here and there. In the heart of the sea is worth a look and definitely you will enjoy it thoroughly due the direction quality and pacing.
In the heart of the sea is worth a look and definitely you will enjoy it thoroughly due the quality of Howard’s direction and pacing.