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.
Many of us know the tale of Moby Dick. I, personally do not. I've wanted to read the book for some time now, and watching this movie all but strengthened that desire. This classic sea-faring movie is a very real interpretation of a real story that inspired quite possibly one of the greatest fictional ones of all time.
Brilliantly acted by Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Thor, Snow White & The Huntsman) Tom Holland (The Impossible, Locke, How I Live Now), and the rest of the cast. So many scenes stood out, but one I really need to point out is the "Say You're Scared!" scene. The S.S. Essex had just been completely destroyed by the whale, and the crew is in lifeboats, scared about what to do next. Captain Pollard (Cillian Murphy) is trying to keep a level head, and then next thing you know, one of the crew grabs a gun and aims it straight at him, yelling for him to admit that he is scared of what is happening. That scene in particular stood out to me because you could feel the panic amongst everyone, especially the distressed seaman who grabbed the gun. The emotions in this scene, and throughout the entire rest of the movie, were so strongly rendered. The entire cast showed real mastery over their work
Ron Howard was the absolute perfect choice to direct this movie. He showed complete directive mastery within every part of this movie. There wasn't a single shot that I didn't enjoy watching. I actually was trying to find an uninteresting point in the movie so that I could get up and go get a drink, but there was absolutely nothing that I thought I could afford to miss because it was so well-directed by Howard.
I don't usually make mention of makeup, but in In the Heart of the Sea, the makeup and practical effects were AMAZING. These men truly looked like they had actually been stranded at sea for weeks. I could clearly see Owen Chase (Hemsworth)'s skull through his skin. Also the sets and props were very well-made and well-utilized. For example, they have caught and gutted a whale, and are working on extracting the oil from it, and they make Thomas (Holland) climb inside it to get the last little bit out. That whale prop was very convincing, and Holland's acting towards it (which was complete disgust at being inside a whale) sold it even more.
It was written in a similar fashion to 2013's The Great Gatsby - Someone telling the story and then writing it down as they are telling it, and then by the end it becomes Moby Dick being written, or at least inspired. It was a bit slowly-paced, but then again, I wasn't really expecting a quickly moving story when it's based on Moby Dick. I was, however, a bit let down by the ending of it. It seemed a bit too anticlimactic for my taste, and it turned into very much more of a survival story than an epic battle with the whale that I was kind of hoping for. Thinking about that fact in hindsight I am not shocked that it went the direction it did, seeing as it is a true story.
In the Heart of the Sea is a very emotionally-driven, moving, and definitely epic survival story that does demand a more specific type of audience, but all-in-all is a very well told story with fantastic cast and an amazing director who told this legendary tale at the height that it deserved to be told at.