In The Heart Of The Sea is a film which comes to us directed by Ron Howard who some may know as a the director of Rush (2013). The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw and Charlotte Riley. Interestingly Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth both worked together on Rush in 2013 and this is the sixth film from Ron Howard which is based on a true story.
Almost everybody out there has heard the story of Moby Dick, the infamous white whale that evades an illustrious sea captain who pursues it across the sea in one of the most famous books of all time. In The Heart Of The Sea tells us the story of how the author of Moby Dick came up with the concept that later became the book we all know. So we sit down and listen to an old man’s true story of a Sperm Whale that dared attack The Essex (a whaling ship), which was only out there to kill whales for their oil. The old man’s story inspires the novel we all love and In The Heart Of The Sea tells us the true story behind the book.
Having not really known about the true story behind the novel I cannot confirm how true to the actual historical events this film was or wasn’t so I don’t know how good it was at sticking to the truth. But in looking back at the screenplay, I would say that it was okay. Although at times it felt that the writers were trying a bit too hard to make every single line in this film something great, things in the film always felt overly dramatic and everything was really big and serious. It may be something to do with the tone from Ron Howard as well and not entirely the screenplays fault, everything just felt so dramatic and so grand in every scene that it’s hard to identify the high points of the film, it’s just so dramatic all the time.
Special effects were something nice to look at though. The big whale looked awesome swimming around and the storm, sea and ship effects were all wonderful. I saw the film in 3D and thought it was well done and felt no nausea while at sea with Chris Hemsworth and the whale.
Performances are worth a mention, with Chris Hemsworth losing quite a lot of weight for the role. It’s not exactly on the Matthew McConaughey level in Dallas Buyers Club, but it’s still a solid effort. It was actually shocking to see Chris Hemsworth so thin though in this film, as he’s always so big and strong, his character goes through a massive physical transition in this film and Chris Hemsworth was surprisingly committed to achieving that himself. According the IMDB trivia page for In The Heart Of The Sea, Chris Hemsworth limited himself to 500-600 calories per day to lose weight for his role and I have to say he really did lose quite a lot of weight.
In The Heart Of The Sea was a lot more gruesome than I had anticipated going in. If you happen to be squeamish at the sight of seeing whale guts being cut up and processed, or seeing a whale harpooned in the ocean, I would say to prepare yourself. I myself aren’t really ever bothered by gore in the cinema but seeing those poor whales being killed in such a dramatic way really has placed me firmly against the killing of whales. It really is a horrible trade and I can’t see after watching In The Heart Of The Sea how people can support killing these poor animals at sea. I do understand the context of killing whales in the time period this film was set in (which was to capture them, kill them and crush their guts into oil). But in modern times, I can’t see how it’s reasonable. I’d be interested to know what others think of the whale trade after seeing In The Heart Of The Sea.
In many ways the film is almost a great film, but because of the overly dramatic tone with almost scene throughout its run time, things felt a bit unsatisfying by the end of it all and I struggled to receive the same inspiration coming out of In The Heart Of The Sea as I would have coming out of reading Moby Dick. The film does have a great physical performance from Chris Hemsworth and the special effects were quite nice. The whale killing was gruesome and made an impact in my mind about the horrible business of killing these creatures and really as messages go in films this one really suck with me. The film makers to me seemed to have just tried too hard to be as great as the novel it was trying to tell the true story about and that’s possibly why everything was so dramatic and grand. If you love these historical time period films or are just curious about the story behind the novel then it’s possibly worth a watch for you this week, it may not be something I’d call a must see film but it’s good enough for a $10 ticket.