Ron Howard’s struggle In the Heart of the Sea. Review

Chris Hemsworth.
Chris Hemsworth.

IN the Heart of the Sea has all the makings of a rousing high stakes David and Goliath, man versus beast survival story.

A man leaving his pregnant wife behind, conflicts on board a whaling ship and a seriously ticked-off whale that does not like his territory invaded – sounds like a stimulating action/drama.

Unfortunately, director Ron Howard struggles to bring much emotional weight to a script that is more preoccupied with boring testosterone-fuelled drama between cliched characters than genuine tension.

Based on the events that inspired literary classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville, In the Heart of the Sea tells the story of farmer Owen Chase (Hemsworth) who is placed on a ship under Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), who he does not see eye to eye with.

An encounter with an oversized whale far outweighs the personality clashes on board the ship, as the men are attacked and stalked by the sea creature.

As he has proven in the Marvel films as Thor, Hemsworth has a commanding screen presence but he struggles to pin down the accent in this period feature.

He also fails to shed his superhero persona, as Chase is never allowed to be vulnerable.

Much tension and suspense is drained knowing this main character is invincible despite the elements, emerging from numerous incidents without a scratch.

The story heads into some darker territory in the later stages, but is limited in its attempt to keep this as family-friendly as possible.

In the Heart of the Sea has a lot of manly men being manly on a big manly boat, but is not as emotionally engaging as one would like.


In the Heart of the Sea (M)

Directed: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson

Three stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now