'In the Heart of the Sea' Review: A great sea adventure and a fascinating survival story

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

People first and foremost talk about Ang Lee's Life of Pi while discussing great sea films. But for me it has always been Peter Weir's Master And Commander: The Far Side of the World. But, finally, it's been toppled from the numero uno spot by Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea.

Howard is known for making blockbusters but he hasn't made anything better than In the Heart of the Sea. Although, it turned out to be a box office bomb (what else can one expect in the hopeless decade of the superhero movie which has proven to be highly detrimental to cinematic storytelling), it really has everything that makes my heart beat for the love of movies. It starts off as a story which inspired Heman Melville to write Moby Dick which is widely regarded as one of the greatest American novels. It's also an undisputed masterwork of world literature.

Watch 'In the Heart of the Sea' Video Review (By Murtaza Ali Khan) (Hindi)

Moby Dick tells the story of a man named Ahab on a deadly mission to take revenge on the giant whale 'Moby Dick' on which the novel is named. It's as personal for Ahab as it gets. He is a megalomaniac and as grand as they come. On one of his last missions he had run into the giant whale and ended up losing one of his legs. Now he wants his vengeance.

But how far a man can go to take his revenge? That's what Moby Dick is all about. But it's not just a novel for it's also been described as a whaling manual that explains in great detail the art of whale hunting. Like all great novels it is also about human follies and virtues. And remember before the blue shark became the ultimate sea monster thanks to Steven Spielberg's
it was the giant white sperm whale that used to deliver the chills.

Now, Moby Dick is said to have been inspired from the story of sinking of a whaleship named Essex in 1820. 30 years later, Herman Melville visits the last survivor of Essex, Thomas Nickerson, and tries to lure him into telling the story behind the sinking of the whaleship.

After initially refusing, Melville finally succeeds in making Nickerson recount the dreaded tale of his ship's fatal encounter with the sea monster, a 100 feet long white sperm whale, and the troubles that followed. As great a novel Moby Dick is, Ron Howard succeeds in telling a story that's no less formidable.

Now, I learnt so much about whaling and life at sea by watching the film. Also it's a cinematic experience like no other. When Chris Hemsworth's character, Owen Chase, encounters the mighty sea predator for one last time they seem to make a brief eye contact and in that moment they seem to make a bond that makes them forgive their animosity. On the contrary, in Moby Dick, Melville keeps Ahab deprived of any such bond.

In the Heart of the Sea makes for a great sea adventure and a fascinating survival story but it's certainly not meant for the faint-hearted. Its breathing visuals will blow you away and so try to watch it on the biggest screen possible. It can be watched and savored independently. Of course, you can always check out Moby Dick some time later. After all, it's an essential read. If you have already read Moby Dick then you can always access In the Heart of the Sea as an origin story. And it's really a darn good one.

(Murtaza Ali Khan is a noted Indian Film & TV Critic. He can be reached at murtaza.jmi@gmail.com)

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.