In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
Directed by Ron Howard
Based on the book In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Screenplay by Charles Leavitt, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker
The story of a New England whaling ship and the tragic events that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
This 2015 Ron Howard (Backdraft) film was adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 book In the Heart of the Sea. The screenplay for the movie was written by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond), Rick Jaffa (The Relic), and Amanda Silver (Jurassic World). The film stars Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), and Benjamin Walker (Kinsey).
This movie is written with the feel of a grand adventure gone wrong. The story looks into the events from the eyes of one man who was there for it all. The writing does a nice job bringing the scale of the adventure to life. The strength of the film is the way the action is played out. The whaling scenes and other intense moments at sea have a sense of realism that works pretty well. The weakness of this movie is the character development.
Throughout the film the characters are placed in situations that are meant to invoke sympathy from the audience. Unfortunately the writing doesn’t help to establish any connection with the characters. The lack of connection comes from the weak and predictable setups early in the movie. These moments are too simple, and do nothing to help attach the audience to the people in the story. Overall, this is an interesting movie that doesn’t give the audience any real reasons to care.
The acting in this movie is good, but nothing special. While the story is likely a huge part of the problem, the acting just doesn’t help personalize the story. The physical strain on the cast must’ve been intense given the transformation the characters went through. During the filming the stars were placed on a limited calorie diet to lose the weight necessary to meet the needs of the story. The action scenes for the stars also look great and are handled nicely throughout the movie. Unfortunately the acting doesn’t do anything special, and it fails to elevate the writing in any way.
This movie looks really good. While the rest of the film is a bit of a disappointment, the visuals are wonderful. The movie was filmed in a number of locations including the Canary Islands in Spain and London. These locations add a lot of authenticity to the feel of the movie. The visuals effects also do a lot to enhance the experience of the film. This is especially true of the whaling scenes. The costuming is also nicely done in this one. In addition to the visuals, the score also works nicely. The music, written by Roque Baños (The Machinist) is powerful and beautiful. Overall, the technical aspects of this movie all work nicely.
This movie could’ve been much more successful with a strong story. Unfortunately the writing relied on the action and the adventure, leaving little time to connect the audience with the people in the story. For fans of the actors, this might be a bit less than expected. I might suggest this to anyone who loves the story of Moby Dick or any other ocean adventure films. Otherwise, this might be one to pass on. I give this one 2.5 out of 5 stars.