“In The Heart of The Sea” is an uneven, yet entertaining adventure film based on the true story that inspired author Herman Melville to write the epic novel, “Moby Dick.” In 1820, The Essex is attacked at sea by a giant white whale measuring a hundred feet long and it’s only a matter of time before the whale wins.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), plays the first officer, doing his best to keep the crew and ship together despite an arrogant, under-seasoned captain. The scenes at sea fighting the giant whale are impressive and intense, but the film suffers it’s own identity crisis. Is this about the whale, the captain, or the first officer? I’v seen the film and I’m not sure.
“In The Heart Of The Sea” is directed with a mechanical approach by Ron Howard (A Perfect Mind, Splash, Apollo 13). His movie is shot in extreme close-ups, during extreme conditions, making it difficult to stand back and actually assess the damage. Once the whale fight is over, Hemsworth and company are left alone in survival boats fighting starvation for 90 days. The final 30 minutes of this film are cannibalistic and grim.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked watching, “In The Heart of The Sea,” but I left the theater only slightly impressed and equally confused. It’s a good film, but never great, lacking any true emotional connection, unless of course, you are rooting for the whale.