The BMAF headed to the cinema recently to see our first film of 2016. With our local cinema being a Cineworld, we did not have the option of seeing the Hateful Eight, so took time to catch up on our viewing, by seeing In the Heart of the Sea, which has been in UK cinemas since Boxing Day.
The film, directed by Ron Howard, is based on the book by Nathaniel Philbrick, of the same name. The book is the true story that inspired author Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
The film follows a discussion between Herman (Ben Whishaw) and Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) about his time on the whaling ship, the Essex which set sail from Nantucket in 1818.
We follow Tom through flashbacks (his younger self, played by future ‘Spiderman’ Tom Holland) onboard the Essex.
The ship is led by new captain George Pollard (played by Benjamin Walker. We know him best for recently playing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
George, has got the role over his number two, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) due to his father and heritage. This causes the 2 both taking a dislike to each other, but being civil enough to get the job done. The collection of whale oil is a profitable business and much needed energy source.
Upon their first sighting of a whale, they have no issues and kill it to claim the much-needed oil source. Heading further out to sea to source more, they come across strong weather conditions. A poor decision from George sees the ship get vastly damaged and losing their obtained stock of Whale.
George looks to place the blame on Owen! However, Owen highlights it would be worse for him as captain, to return to home bringing no whale to which he reluctantly agrees. Stopping at another sea town, they hear stories of a large pod of whales. They are also told how the previous ships were unable to capture any. This was due to being attacked by a large white whale! However, they choose to not focus on this, seeing a massive financial payout, they find out where the pod was sighted and head that way.
However, they choose to not focus on this, seeing a massive financial payout, they find out where the pod was sighted and head that way.
Upon coming across the whale pod, they also come across the white whale and they fail to capture it. The whale attacks them instead and charges the Essex and subsequently destroys it.
3 surviving life craft of crew manage to find land, but with limited food and drink begin to starve. The land they find is uninhabited so the food and drink situation becomes worse.
A find of dead bodies from Owen leaves the survivors to make a choice to either stay and hope to be rescued or leave the island and hope to be rescued.
Some choose to stay, due to the state of their health and injuries but others leave, under the captainship of Owen and George.
Their journey continues to not offer safe passage, their food and drink situation worsens, to the extent that the crew resort to cannibalism, following the death of a fellow shipmate. They also come across the white whale again!!
We know from Tom telling the story that there are survivors to the tale, but can never be sure who will live or survive.
The film does not reach the height of previous Ron Howard directed biopics such as Rush, Apollo 13 or Frost/Nixon. This film in part feels like it is made as a drama for a history channel rather than a film event.
The film does give us various mini films, such as trying to catch the whale (much like Jaws) the story of being marooned (Castaway) and even the cannibalism decision has been done before in films such as Alive. The film even ends with a brief legal drama, as those survivors have to face the Ship owners and insurers to explain the loss of boat.
The cast are good, although I personally felt Cillian Murphy was under used as Owen’s friend and Support, Matthew Joy. The sets are fantastic, you do get a feel of how the conditions for the crews were like. In particular, a scene involving young Tom have to enter a whale carcass to retrieve oil the others can not reach is pretty horrific, as are the whale kills themselves. Luckily, today this is nowhere near as frequent now as an oil substitute from underground has been found.
The CGI of the whales is truly fantastic and shows the advances that have been made.
The film certainly has its merits but is not outstanding when compared to the director’s previous films. However if you are aware of the Moby Dick story or love historical films, this biopic is a great watch.
Do you agree with us? Have you seen another film as unable to see The Hateful Eight? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films
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