Ron Howard takes audiences into the deepest, darkest depths of the deep in this heart racing historical thriller that charts the doomed journey of the men who tried to challenge Mother Nature.
Adapted from terrifying true events, In the Heart of the Sea takes place in 1820 when the crew of the whaling ship Essex, including Captain George Pollard Jr. (Benjamin Walker) and first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), were struck by a large bull sperm whale and shipwrecked at sea for 90 days.
Here’s five reasons to watch:
5. A moving oil canvas
Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle captures the wild beauty of the ocean with magnificent depth, detail, and colour that makes one feel like they are watching an oil canvas painting come alive on screen. Utilising a sepia palette of deep aquas and blues, Mantle truly captures the wildness of the ocean, setting the scene for the climactic duel between man and beast.
4. A cabin boy’s tale
Making a mark on the big screen is young thespian Tom Holland as the Essex’s cabin boy Thomas Nickerson. Holland is fearless in the emotion that he brings to the very green Nickerson who, while feeling the call of the ocean, is not void of the fear that grips him at the prospect of his future. Holland offers a completely humanising performance, and audiences will cling to him as their introduction to this different, magnificent, and often dangerous world.
3. Ron Howard – a man caught in eye of the storm
It takes a master navigator to guide a ship through a storm, and legendary director Ron Howard does so with passion and expertise. In a tribute to his immense talents as a filmmaker, Howard is able to handle the dual narratives of a powerful and exotic adventure tale, before suddenly throwing his audiences head first into the insurmountable horrors of being lost at sea. With Howard at the helm of the ship, In the Heart of the Sea transcends the boundary of a historical adventure tale to a meditation on the human spirit and character.
2. The clash at sea
Central to the success of In the Heart of the Sea are co-leads Chris Hemsworth and Benjamin Walker, who bring a clash of ideology and a direct competitiveness to their performances. In the role of First Mate Owen Chase, Chris Hemsworth is the heroic Alpha Male of the sea, who has conquered it numerous times. However, when he is passed over for promotion, his arrogance and foolhardiness sends his crew spiraling into the abyss. Playing opposite Hemsworth’s Chase is Benjamin Walker as the ill-equipped, but purposeful and pompous Captain George Pollard whose inexperience and recklessness at sea comes as a direct result of his desire to one-up Chase at every turn. Both Hemsworth and Walker play off of each masterfully, and their choices and rash actions drive the story to a titillating climax.
1. Beast of the great depths
The magnificent beast that Pollard, Chase and the rest of their crew intend to plunder really brings the fury of Mother Nature upon them in brutal anger. This silent creature, constructed using CGI, is a literal force that represents the themes of an untamed ocean, and the unstoppable force of nature that both Howard and author Herman Melville (whom is portrayed in the film by Ben Whishaw) were first captured by. A symbol of power, strength, and beauty, the Whale who stalks the crew of the Essex and punishes them for their crimes against nature, is a brilliantly realised creation.
Imaage source: Roadshow Films.