“In the Heart of the Sea” is the true story of the last survivor of whaling ship, who tells the amazing story of the ship’s demise resulting from unrelenting attacks from a whale in which the tables are turned: rather than being hunted, the whale becomes the hunter. This story is the basis for Herman Melville’s classic “Moby Dick.”
“In the Heart of the Sea” is an interesting but generally unexceptional film and gets a “Rent It” rating. The film, set in the 1800s, captures that time period when whale oil is a highly valued commodity used to light the streets, homes and businesses of the world. A drama, the film also attempts to be scary—in a “Jaws”-like way—with some strong conflicts. Chris Hemsworth plays Chase, the son of a convict, who is first mate and qualified to be captain. He loses out to the inexperienced but wealthy George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). But the two have to put their disputes aside when the massive sea-dwelling monster goes on the attack.
This film is master director Ron Howard’s latest venture, and he does not pull it off. Even though the deep despair and depths to which the characters sink and their unthinkable survival efforts are well captured on screen, it’s simply not enough. This movie is not bad; it just doesn’t come together in a cohesive and powerful way. However, it does have sufficient entertainment value to make it worth renting.
It gets a “B” in cast diversity. In a major Northeastern port in the 1820s, there would have Black men serving as laborers and shipmates and that was reflected in this story. Slavery ended in Massachusetts in 1783, almost 40 years before these events. These workers would have been free men.
“In the Heart of the Sea” is 121 minutes long, had a very costly budget of $100 million and is rated PG-13 for action, peril and violence. Again, it gets a “Rent It” rating.