In the Heart of the Sea - Movie Review

posted Apr 15, 2016, 1:28 PM by Bruce Gaughran   [ updated Feb 21, 2019, 1:46 PM ]
I just finished watching the Ron Howard film, "In the Heart of the Sea" (PG-13). The movie is based upon the true story of the Essex. The events inspired Herman Melville to write, “Moby Dick.” Here is a synopsis of the movie.

“In 1820, crewmen (Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy) aboard the New England vessel Essex face a harrowing battle for survival when a whale of mammoth size and strength attacks with force, crippling their ship and leaving them adrift in the ocean. Pushed to their limits and facing storms, starvation, panic and despair, the survivors must resort to the unthinkable to stay alive.”

The acting is quite good, but Ron Howard does a wonderful job of portraying the events leading up to the loss of the Essex, as well as what happened afterward. Also of interest to me was the way the movie explained the whale oil industry when it was at its greatest demand.

I read Nathaniel Philbrick's book, In the Heart of the Sea in 2005 and was intrigued by the story, When I started watching the movie, I was concerned that Ron Howard couldn't pull off the raw emotions exuded from the pages of Philbrick's book. Mr. Howard did not disappoint me. He captured the main events well and left you wanting to know more.

Wikipedia does a good job of explaining the whale oil industry.“Whale oil is oil obtained from the blubber of whales. Whale oil was sometimes known as train oil, which comes from the Dutch word traan ("tear" or "drop"). Sperm oil, a special kind of oil obtained from the head cavities of sperm whales, differs chemically from ordinary whale oil: it comprises mostly liquid wax. Its properties and applications differ from those of regular whale oil, and it sold at a higher cost when marketed. Early industrial societies used whale oil widely in oil lamps and to make soap and margarine.”

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.