Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Chris Hemsworth – Owen Chase
Brendan Gleeson – Thomas Nickerson
Benjamin Walker – Captain George Pollard
Tom Holland – young Thomas Nickerson
Ben Whishaw – Herman Melville
Gary Beadle – William Bond
Michelle Fairley – Mrs. Nickerson
..was my first reaction to the humongous beast the men encounter in the ocean. Probably the best part of the whole movie, the hunted sea creature is displayed with beautiful graphics; its tall tail rising slowly up out of the water and towering above the men, before splashing back down again. I loved the visuals here, and top marks for a movie that makes me actually vocalise a “whoa”–type reaction in the cinema. I was genuinely grateful for these scenes due to the rest of the movie being quite dull (I.E. shipwrecked and eating each other).
In a nutshell, you have Thomas Nickerson (Gleeson) sitting at a table in a very dark room with Herman Melville (Whishaw) as the older one tells the younger one a story he has never told anyone – because the younger one wants to write about it. Let the scene hopping commence as the movie jumps from men at sea to two men sat at a table throughout its screen time, which grows a bit tiresome towards the end. On the plus side, it makes for a creative idea: a man telling a story where his words give way to flashbacks of what happens. Interweaving narrative with action. But other than this it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.
So the movie is split into two timezones, with the men at sea battling the whale and waves, and a grown-up version of one of the men telling this story. Gleeson isn’t overly bad; which I found surprising as normally I can’t fucking stand the bloke. Right up there with the likes of Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant and Ray Winstone, Brendan Gleeson is practically incapable of playing a character different to the one he played prior to that. And prior to that one. He is always gruff. He is always Irish. He is always the same.
But although the same also in In the Heart of the Sea, I didn’t mind him. I mean, there’s a time and a place – and a movie – to be yourself, and fortunately this was it. He bores me in other movies due lack of dynamic characteristics, therefore not fitting into the story right. But here the movie needed a man like him. His slow, gruff voice ensured a captivating narrative; delivering a (at times emotional) story of a group of men who sail off to work but encounter a destructive storm which leads to them striving desperately to stay alive. And what made it better was the fact the movie didn’t focus on Gleeson a lot; it returns to present day but only a few times.
Before I went to see In the Heart of the Sea, I had seen a few articles in newspapers about how Chris Hemsworth lost weight for his role of Owen Chase.
But they weren’t just articles; they seemed to shout about his dramatic weight loss for the movie. There was a photo of him in one where he looked painfully thin too. A work colleague even mentioned his weight loss mission to me as we spoke about the movie. His whole mission to get skinny seemed to be very well-known and almost hyped up, people becoming quite intrigued by it.
I hardly saw anything.
As in – he was barely on screen at his thinnest. Going sorely unnoticed, Hemsworth is seen playing out his character after he is marooned on the island, but somehow the producers glazed completely over how thin he was. Clothed and acting on a misty screen, I honestly couldn’t tell any difference between his standard self and dramatically thin self. A few seconds into the scene which showed the men stranded, the camera focused on Hemsworth’s face – and I could see how thin it was – but that was it.
So if you’re heading to the cinema intrigued at the thought of viewing a shockingly thin Chris Hemsworth.. you’ve no need to be.
For what it is, In the Heart of the Sea isn’t a bad little movie. It delivers some epic moments between man and beast which I found very captivating. The story is light and easy to follow, and the fact it’s split between past and present makes it a more entertaining watch too.
Its downside is it gets dull in places that don’t involve water. When the men are having adventures at sea the movie is pumping and full of action, when the scene shifts, you’re sat watching serious faces fading into dreary background.
I’m half and half on this one – obviously. But if period dramas and nautical antics are your thing, I have no doubt you’ll be lapping (wave pun fully intended) it up.