Movie Review: In the Heart of the Sea

Directed by Ron Howard

5 Stars

It’s 1820, the streets and much else are long-lit, and whale oil is a paramount commodity. Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, released in 2015, recounts the events of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and more. However, this is a mere commentary on the storytelling in this medium as opposed to a comparison of the preceding book. The movie follows: In a sit-down with Melville himself, the riveting tale is told via the last survivor, Thomas Nickerson, who was merely 14 years of age at the time of the ruinous voyage of Nantucket’s “Essex”. The crew, lead by the overconfidence of posh newbie Captain George Pollard Jr. and the zeal of rugged and experienced first mate, Owen Chase, sailing 1000 leagues along the equator. Seemingly for the “edge of sanity,” they discover the sperm whale oasis that brings them a rather fleeting victory. Fleeting since among the pod is a monstrosity of a whale—Moby Dick—ghostly in colour and vengeful.

In terms of themes, the movie is humbling and demonstrates how easily the authority of nature diminishes the whims of men as there is a palpable shift in conflict from profit to survival for which the crew must commit abominations. It's an amazing film that develops the characters as well as the growth and relationships among them quite well and provides an incredible sense of closure despite all the loss.

Comparing this to a fair share of historical dramas/adventures watched, this one doesn’t warrant much criticism at all. It’s arguable, as an adaptation of such a prominent story, the soundtrack could’ve been a bit more distinct and memorable. Still, this movie, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland, who played major characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, certainly does this classic justice. I recommend this movie for ages 13+.

Review by Chaya J.

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