Starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson. Written by Charles Leavitt, directed by Ron Howard. Budget $100 million. Running time 121 minutes.
Since this is Christmas, it's time for the annual man tortured for several hours for our cinematic pleasure movie. Last year it was Unbroken, the year before it was 12 Years a Slave, this year it's Man vs Wales in In The Heart of the Sea.
Inspired by the true story that inspired Moby Dick this is the fictionalised account of the sinking of the Essex by a bloody great big whale who later went on to have a successful career as a middle-of-road electronic dance musician much hated by chocolate loving, rapper Eminen.
Using the device of a youthful Herman Melvin interviewing Brendan's survivor of the Essex for his book Moby Dick, this is the tale of the fate of the Essex – a whaler ship that had the great misfortune to bump into the mother of all albino sperm whales, Mr. Dick. Mr. Moby Dick. The great big whale went on to sink the Essex and then harass that ship's three long boat's worth of survivors for the next 90 days forcing the buff handsome Hollywood leading actors to suffer month's worth of starvation diets to achieve the most impressive skeleton chic look.
Directed by Ron Howard, who it has to be said mounts an impressive looking film, this is however a water-logged and dull floater of a movie, which is pretty exciting right up to the bit when the big whale sinks the boat, then the movie, very much like the cast, ends up adrift on a listless ocean of tedium becalmed by the usual flaw of cast adrift movies - they're kind of boring.
It looks good, the boat sailing bits are exciting, as is the hunting, but therein also lies the rub, these fuckers were hunting whales and that just isn't kosher any more, so you can't help feeling they really got what they deserved. And this is no Master and Commander, none of the characters really endear themselves to us, not even Chris 'call me Thor' Hemsworth who looks great as a living skeleton for all of the 15 seconds we see him as such but pretty much remains a bit of a dick and far too worthier than thou for the most of the film. Also enjoyable is Brendan Gleeson who wisely took the role that meant he could sit down the whole time while being used as a book end and Cillain Murphy who all suffer for their art.
Good special effects, good period detail but ultimately a tad bland and flat and not a great deal to recommend it. Indeed if you only watch one film about old ships then I would recommend the already mentioned Master and Commander.