In the Heart of the Sea
Time Out says
When Chris Hemsworth starts waving his harpoon around, this lively tale of eighteenth-century whale-hunters is hard to resist
‘Have ye seen the Great White?’ ‘Aye, Cap’n, he’s right there, clambering up the rigging with his shirt off!’ This salty seagoing adventure – based on the true(ish) story that inspired ‘Moby Dick’ – may sell itself as a ‘Jaws’-in-pantaloons tale of historical animal horror. But the real star of the show isn’t a CG whale but Chris Hemsworth’s strapping six-pack, as he rampages about the high seas harpooning everything in sight.
In adapting the legend of the Essex – a Nantucket whaling craft that foundered in the Pacific after a run-in with a particularly aggressive leviathan – Ron Howard clearly thinks he has a story that will appeal both to history buffs and action-movie enthusiasts. So he’s steeped his film in period detail – maritime command structures, sailors’ legal obligations, the price and importance of whale oil – but is perfectly happy to drop all that at the first chance of a good, manly, hull-splintering set piece.
It’s a strategy that doesn’t always pay off. The dramatic scenes feel a touch overcooked, and there are moments where it feels like a particularly high-end school play, with everyone shouting ‘avast!’ and ‘ahoy!’ like they really, really mean it. The action, though, is consistently impressive: when man and beast go toe-to-tail, your timbers will be well and truly shivered.
Cast and crew