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.
Ron 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: