Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Film Review: "In the Heart of the Sea" (2015).





"Based on the incredible true story that inspired the myth Moby Dick."
This is what In the Heart of the Sea delivers. This biographical adventure thriller film directed by Ron Howard, adapted by Charles Leavitt, based on Nathaniel Philbrick's 2000 non-fiction book of the same name, about the sinking of the American whaling ship Essex in 1820, that inspired the tale of Moby-Dick. In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. The film reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive.

The tragedy of The Essex has become legendary. But unbeknownst to people, The Essex was also linked to another unlikely story. During its expedition, The Essex crew attempted to reach Mas a Tierra island, in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. Over 100 years earlier, Scotsman Alexander Selkirk had his own ordeal stranded on that island. His story was the basis for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. The start of this venture began in 2000, when Barry Levinson was set to direct and was going to be distributed by Miramar. Eventually, Howard took over the reins. Principal photography began in September 2013 in London and at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Additional locations included were the islands of La Gomera and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, Spain. Coincidently, Moby Dick (1956), directed by John Huston, was also shot in the Canaries. During at one point of filming, the cast and crew were forced to retreat to their hotel due to a storm off the Canary Islands which turned into a rare flash flood. The production shut down for a day and a half, expanding the shoot to 73 days, exactly as filmmakers expected. For the storm scenes, the production team built a water tank at Leavesden Studios, where a deck was built on top of a gimbal to mimic the pitch of a storm. To get the right effect, 500 gallons of icy water were poured from cannons.

The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson. The cast gave spectacular performances and went all the way - emotionally and physically. According to Chris Hemsworth in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, to prepare for the role of starving sailors, the cast were on a diet of 500-600 calories a day to lose weight.

A spectacular, monster of an adventure, In the Heart of the Sea is a finely crafted adventure story with exhilarating ocean sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Brendan Gleeson and Tom Holland. However, it may favour spectacle in place of the deeper themes in Nathaniel Philbrick's novel, but it still makes for a grand adventure film.

Simon says In the Heart of the Sea receives:


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