IN THE HEART OF THE SEA [Review]: Not Such a Huge Splash.
Moby Dick. That great American novel, is one hell of a book. It’s also a beast to get through. “In the Heart of the Sea” follows the story that influenced that Great American Tale: the desolation of the Essex whaling ship…
The film opens with Herman Melville (Skyfall‘s Ben Wishaw), the author of Moby Dick, interviewing the last surviving crew member of the Essex. From there we’re taken to flashbacks of his experience as a novice whaler, not unlike the role of Ishmael in Moby Dick.
The Story is pretty simple: Whalers go out to sea; Whalers whale; Whalers whale the wrong whale; the wrong whale wails back. If you were hoping for a rip-roaring action adventure, then you’ll surely be disappointed. This is, plain and simple, a survival story and a brief commentary on what men will do in order to survive.
The actors hit their marks for the most part. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Spider-Man (Pan‘s Tom Holland) are no doubt the standouts. It’s in their more intimate moments that the story soars. The two have an undeniable screen chemistry and I can’t wait to see how that translates to the Avengers.
The Cinematography and Visual effects are top notch. The whaling scenes are both visceral and brutal, painting a vivid image on the horrors of whaling.
Sadly, the whole thing feels a rather hollow affair. The story spirits along hitting its marks but never truly says anything about them. It doesn’t reach the depths of what you would expect from a Moby Dick yarn, and often times I longed for Ishmael’s poignant commentary on the human condition and man’s place in the universe.