A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.
This is a retelling of a particular ship's ordeal, also an inspiration for the novel Moby Dick. It is told from an account of then young crew member, he now tells the story of adventure and misery in his older days. While it's a good ground for characterization and set-up, it might overhype its own story and break the pacing slightly. Fortunately, Brendan Gleeson and Michelle Fairley are capable enough to maintain their own mini subplot.
The actual voyage consists of two leads, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) and George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). Owen is a veteran sailor, who is promised a captain seat, but ultimately denied of the right because of nepotism favoring George. The two collides frequently, and more than once their dispute ends up bringing malady to the ship and its crew.
Chris Hemsworth is a great actor, however this is not the same level of rivalry he had in Rush. It is by no fault of Benjamin Walker who does try to fulfill the role, but he doesn't portray the personality clash of an epic saga. In fact, Hemsworth has more connection with Gillian Murphy, the third in command, even though they have lesser screen time together. The rest of the crew isn't compelling enough, in exception of young Nickerson who will eventually narrates it.
For most part the visual is splendid, mainly when it transcends the barrier between sea line and underwater. On some scenes it pans out so nicely it brings an alluringly harrowing view of ocean, its human drifters and beastly occupants. It has overall bluish tone that keeps the cold isolation vibe while the gigantic whale, though we know it's CG as whale is too much of a diva to work with, is still pretty convincing in close up.
Plot keeps a straightforward momentum, although it may be inconsistent sometimes. There are parts where it seems to dawdle for ten or fifteen minute more than needs be, while some scenes are cut short and ultimately feels disjointed. It's not a big issue, but it does make the story skips rather abruptly or plods at times.
In the Heart of the Sea is an interesting excursion with fine visual. Granted, it doesn't navigate well enough under some waves, yet this homage to a great classic has its enchanting and inspiring moments.
- Dec 7, 2015