The story of the whaler Essex that inspired the novel Moby Dick. Moby Dick was a great book-one that is a great read and has never been successfully made into a film. So here we have the tale of a bunch of greedy bastards who murder whales for a living. One whale fights back for some unknowable reason. If all the whales sank all the whalers, now that might have been a movie worth watching.
In the Heart of The Sea is not a bad film. The acting is good, the effects are OK, if a bit clunky in spots when it comes to giant whales thrashing around, and the tale is a pretty gripping one in spots. It was hard not to be reminded of The Perfect Storm, as the Captain sails the ship into a storm with huge waves and they later go to the middle on nowhere-because that’s where the whales are.
Now, the tale itself as it is played out here is a bit odd. We have Herman Melville tracking down the last survivor of the Essex to hear the tale of what happened. But it was First Officer Owen Chase’s own book, published months after his return home, that seems to have been the inspiration for Moby Dick. We also have the odd business of a happy ending where Owen listens to his wife and gets a job on a merchant ship. In real life he kept whaling for the next twenty years and had four wives. In the film, it’s implied that the tale has never been told and that Melville is the first to hear of the horrors that happened on the lifeboats. In truth, the Inn Keeper’s tale wouldn’t see the light of day until 1960, and wouldn’t be published until 1984.
In The Heart of the Sea was a bit of a flop. It had 11 million it’s opening weekend and has yet to crack the 100 million that it cost to make.