In the Heart of the Sea
Releases December 11th 2015
2 hr 2 mins
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Charles Leavitt (based on novel by Nathaniel Philbrick)
Chris Hemsworth as Owen Chase
Benjamin Walker as Captain George Pollard, Jr.
Cillian Murphy as Matthew Joy
Tom Holland as young Thomas Nickerson
Brendan Gleeson as old Thomas Nickerson
Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville
Michelle Fairley as Mrs. Nickerson
Gary Beadle as William Bond
Frank Dillane as Owen Coffin
Charlotte Riley as Peggy
Donald Sumpter as Paul Macy
Brooke Dimmock as Phoebe Chase
Jamie Sives as Isaac Cole
Review by Mister Goodfella's Reviews
Ron Howard returns the big screen to bring us his new sea epic "In The Heart Of The Sea". Reuniting with Ron Howard is Chris Hemsworth who has also starred in Howard's last film "Rush". Along Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Benjamin Walker, Brendan Gleeson And Ben Bishaw share the screen for this adventurous tale. The plot is centered on Herman Melville (Ben Bishaw) who tracks down Thomas Nickerson (Gleeson) so that he may recount his endeavor at sea that he has not shared with anyone since returning from his journey. The journey recounted is centered on the "Essex Nantucket" ship that was lost at sea while its crew was preyed upon by a sperm whale.
Going into "In The Heart Of The Sea" I thought this was going to be a "Moby Dick" centered film, seeing as how all of the elements of Melville's novel were there. However "In The Heart Of The Sea" focuses more on the actual journey that inspired "Moby Dick". This immediately sparked my interest so I was very eager to see how the story unraveled with this fine cast. Usually for me Ron Howard is one of those directors who don't really have much to say but want to still leave you with the impression that they can still make good movies, so I had an open mind.
I was very impressed by how entertaining "In The heart Of The Sea" is and how fast the pacing feels at times. Usually for this time period, directors like to mimic the story by slowing down the pacing to really sink in the illusion. Ron Howard really works hard here to keep the interest there by speeding up the 1st and 3rd acts of the film but steadily slowing down for the film's 2nd act. The 2nd act of the film centered more around the voyage at sea and the hunt for whale oil, so it's only fitting that we get to spend a decent amount of time enjoying this aspect.
Hemsworth doesn't quite steal the show but he does a great job at convincing us that he could be a first mate on a ship. I think everyone in the film shared the screen time very decently but I was very disappointed that one of my favorites, Cillian Murphy got very little. However for the moments that Murphy is onscreen his performance is authentic and feels very natural. Tom Holland however very much intrigued me since I had never seen him act before and now he is the center focus due to "Marvel" casting him as "Spiderman". Holland did a great job even though he had very few lines and pretty much complimented everyone else's performance.
Above all I think the writing was solid but it wasn't magnificent, I was really waiting for that shining moment in which I could pick out the one actor I could see as the show stealer but it never happened. While "In The Heart Of The Sea" does have some writing issues, the visuals at sea or on the whales themselves look great. Howard really tries to fuse his sense of directing into the visuals by strapping the camera in places that really give a nice touch to the scene. In particular one scene involving the men in the water looking above as a whale's fluke is towering above. This scene looked so gorgeous I had to acknowledge it; Howard really knows how to dress a scene up.
Everything was there for me to like this film, however I can see how some will dislike it. You could pick apart the writing or maybe just the pacing but in my opinion this really intrigued me and since that doesn't come often for me in Ron Howard's work I’m very impressed. Another great thing about "In The Heart Of The Sea" is the makeup and costumes, everything looked authentic and the makeup to have the actors appear weaker and brittle was phenomenal. "In The Heart Of The Sea" is not going to be your "Oscar" movie and it's not going to be for everyone, however if you like Ron Howard and the story of "Moby Dick" at least interests you, give it a shot.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars