Captain Ahab's descent into madness destroys everyone around him. This powerful character drew John Barrymore, Orson Wells and John Huston. This film has been called the best, most authentic version of Herman Melville's MOBY DICK.
Two parallel journeys, Bianca's and a young illegal immigrant's, end up overlapping, in search of an impossible salvation, despite an almost inevitable shipwreck. At all costs. Against the ... See full summary »
The interactions between Ahab, Michigan & Stubb is reminiscent of captain Vere, Billy Budd & Master-at-arms John Claggart, the main characters of Billy Budd, another novel written by Moby-Dick's author, Herman Melville. See more »
Herman Melville's Moby Dick is a brilliant book in every way, but it has proved to be a very difficult one to adapt. As an adaptation fans of the book will find much to complain about with this version, but an adaptation stands a fairer chance at being judged on its own. In that regard this version has its moments but falls short. It is well-shot and edited, the authenticity of the costumes, scenery and the production design is to be admired, the music is rousing and haunting and there are three bright spots. Eddie Marsan is very likable and charming, Ethan Hawke brings a moving quality to a conflicted character and Raul Trujillo is a fun Queequeg. The cast is a talented one but apart from those three actors it falls flat. Gillian Anderson could have been a bright spot but she is so dour that she comes across as unusually dull while Charlie Cox has one expression only literally and that's smug but that Ishmael is very one-dimensional does him no favours. More problematic is William Hurt, who initially seemed a great choice for Ahab but tries way too hard so Ahab's vengeance and complexity is lost, he really overeggs the pudding here and shouts and strains his way through the role. How Moby Dick is rendered is one of the adaptation's major failings, the adaptation gets the colour and the way he swims exactly right but the CGI for the whale is often lousy and too over-proportioned. The script also fails, sometimes there is some of Melville's prose but a lot of it does sound too modern and it noticeably jars. The characters have very little depth, Starbuck excepted, Ahab is one of the most fascinating characters in all of literature but seems too humanised at the beginning and later becomes too much of a clown due to how Hurt portrays him. The back-stories were a good idea but don't say very much and a lot of them drag on for far too long, the first forty minutes in particular are quite pedestrian. The story is short on suspense and the first half drags quite badly and doesn't get much better, ending with a very contrived finale that is choreographed like a mix of playground antics and cheap video-game. In conclusion, has moments but lacking in a lot of areas. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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