Screening Room: ‘In the Heart of the Sea’

One big whale: 'In the Heart of the Sea' (Warner Bros.)
One big whale: ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ (Warner Bros.)

In 1820, the Nantucket whaling ship Essex met a disastrous fate in the Pacific; only a few men survived. Later, the story that the ship had run afoul of a massive whale became the kernel of Moby-Dick and was more recently dissected in Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea.

In_the_Heart_of_the_Sea_--_book_coverRon Howard’s 3D adaptation of Philbrick’s book is opening this week, and hoping very much for some Oscar attention. My review is at Film Journal International:

…It starts in 1850 with a spry young Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) trying to claw a story out of Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson), a drunk old salt who has refused for 30 years to talk about his connection with the Essex whaling-boat disaster. Melville’s money and Nickerson’s exasperated wife finally crack open that whiskey-sodden shell. But only after Nickerson fixes Melville with a probing look. “Have you read Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mr. Melville?” He asks. “Great writer”…

The trailer is here:

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