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In the heart of the sea review

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In The heart of the sea


Village Roadshow


pg-13. 121 min




First all I never finished Moby Dick. I tried but just could not hack my way through it. Furthermore I think there are a lot more people like me that refuse to admit that fact. So there.


I did read Herman Melville's Billy Budd but it was also a play and a pretty good movie, and an allegory about Christianity and, well, my teacher made me read it. Oh, and it was a lot shorter.


Still the Melville novel that gets the lion's share of the press is Moby Dick. And literary professors have insisted it's one of the great American novels (much in the manner of mothers across the country insisting that you eat your spinach).


It is because of that notoriety that IN THE HEART OF THE SEA was made into a major motion picture. I would have absolutely no interest in a story that inspired a novel that I couldn't stand but for two reasons. First my dear friend Craig loved the book and he lives on a boat. Seriously. Second is the fact that I believe Ron Howard is one of America's greatest directors and rarely disappoints no matter what the subject matter might be.


I did cheat and look up the run time before I decided to see it, I mean if it had been three and a half hours, well you get the idea.


Supposedly this tale concerning the tragedy of the good ship Essex is at least somewhat true.


The novel, written by Nathaniel Philbrick, is a modern one, so I'm assuming that it was the story of the Essex that inspired Melville.


I wont really speculate on the accuracy of the setup in which Melville interviews the last surviving and very reluctant crew member who tells the story in its entirety for the first time. At any rate, the Essex was a whaling ship owned and operated by the high rollers of the early 1800's and charged with a dangerous mission to bring home scores of barrels of whale oil oil, a valuable commodity at the time.


Upset by broken promises of an actual captainship, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) reluctantly accepts the position of first mate under Captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) an untested officer but member of a prestigious family.


As you can guess there is friction from the start as the inexperienced captain begins to resent the more sea savvy first mate.


Still the men come to an uneasy understanding and the Essex embarks on a perilous journey. Thanks to Howard's masterful work the film looks great from beginning to end. You can almost feel the salt spray from the docks of Rhode Island to the stormy seas. As you would expect there are quite a few action-packed episodes as the ship battles storms and even worse a giant, and very vindictive, white whale. This is where the film shines, those action sequences are pretty exciting. The downfall? Well as you will soon find out this is basically a tale of survival as the few remaining crew members are set adrift after a massive battle with the legendary beast. It's in those long scenes where the crew is trapped on a couple of lifeboats without adequate food or water that THE HEART OF THE SEA begins to drag. I'm guessing not as badly as it might drag under an inferior director but it's still a bit tedious.


Tom Holland and Brendan Gleeson play the young and old Thomas Nickerson the last living member of that crew who finally tells his story to a young Melville.


The film rolls along in flashback punctuated by the older Nickerson reminiscing about the unholy abominations they endured.


There's a bit of philosophy aboard concerning God versus the arrogance of man and or nature versus the arrogance of man, but we all know who usually ends up winning that spiritual or natural tug of war.


HEART features both excitement and yes, a bit of boredom but it's all held together very respectably by a very sound cast and director.









Westside Steve Simmons

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was watching plenty of movies.... free.... on my tablet (kodi free download) TV got boring, and it was

just after I got home after surgery to get my new knee.


I watched this one - it was exactly what you said , very boring... some really great special effects...


not at all like the whales we saw in Alaska.....

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