Trailer: In the Heart of the Sea

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘In the heart of the sea’ review: It’s a horror story of a different kind.

The words “auteur” and “Ron Howard” are hardly a natural fit but put Howard’s most engaging films together and a consistent vision emerges – a portrait of a particular masculine ideal. LONDON (Reuters): The story that helped inspire “Moby Dick” is coming to cinema screens in action adventure “In the Heart of the Sea”, a film directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard and based on the book of the same name.

After almost a decade in film, the 32-year-old Australian dreamboat has garnered a steady stream of blockbuster hit roles, most notably his perpetual reign as the iconic superhero Thor. “In the space of three years, we had our kids and simultaneously my career was happening, and everything changed,” he told Parade. “We’d leave the house and there would be six paparazzi out in front. There are connections, recommendations and critical reasons beyond genetics, a flash of talent and what Hemsworth calls “luck” for an unknown like him to make the break. The hunky Aussie star shared a heartwarming story involving his 3-year-old daughter, India. “Last week, we were in the car driving somewhere, and my little girl was in the back seat with me. The agitation you feel from the paparazzi rippled in the house.” “It’s just a quiet little surf town with a lot of farming, an hour and a half outside of Melbourne,” he said. “There are other things in my life now—family, kids.” While he welcomes the change of scenery, Hemsworth recognizes the potentially negative effect his departure from the mecca of film may have on his burgeoning career. “I don’t want to have to be in the position where I care if the phone stops ringing. Narrated entirely in flashbacks by Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson), the now grown-up cabin boy on board the doomed 1820 Nantucket whaling ship Essex, the film paints a vivid portrait of the crew’s struggle to survive repeated attacks by a giant sperm whale in the western Pacific.

I was really tired, and I leaned over and I put my head on her lap,” he shared. “She started patting my head and singing a song through her pacifier.” “There’s the idea that we as parents spend all this time protecting our children. Cast as Owen Chase, the ship’s second in command, Chris Hemsworth displays an unmistakable star quality as he works to keep spirits up and tempers down.

Howard also made Rush, the 2013 Formula One racing film in which Hemsworth made a singular impression as Hunt, track rival to Daniel Bruhl’s Niki Lauda. The harrowing tale is told through the eyes of Thomas Nickerson, played by Tom Holland as an unblemished 14-year-old and by Brendan Gleeson as an alcoholic survivor with enough guilt to drown a catholic. But, as Howard says in an interview from New York just minutes before Hemsworth gets on the phone for his session, he only cast Hemsworth in Rush after actor-director Kenneth Branagh recommended Hemsworth as a talent who also happens to be humble, hard-working and personable on the set. He drunkenly recounts his life’s adventures to Herman Melville (yes, the very same) who forever lives in the shadow of his hero Nathaniel Hawthorne, insecure and inadequate.

Good luck trying not to flinch as you watch starving survivors, each a pale shadow of what they used to be, resort to desperate measures while stranded at sea for months on end with no supplies and no land in sight. Branagh, of course, directed the first Thor movie, which became a $449 million worldwide box-office hit for Marvel in 2011. “He came as advertised,” Howard says of Hemsworth. It’s a story which takes us back to the mid-19th century, when America was running on whale oil and the heroes of its eastern seaboard were the whalers who inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.

Other members of the crew include the captain of the vessel George Pollard (a solid Benjamin Walker) — a naive man out to rid himself of the entitlement and nepotism that has plagued him all his life — and Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth, armed with the charming bravado of a movie star and an iffy accent) as his reluctant first mate, his name and class forever sentencing him to second place. Although less surefooted when the drama moves to land, the film benefits from brisk pacing, and from Howard’s skill at finding stories of human conflict in big spectacle productions.

Pollard never misses an opportunity to remind him that he is a land-farer, and that he, Pollard, is the one who belongs to the family that practically invented the shipping business. It was the happiest moment of my life.” Hemsworth and his model-actress wife, Elsa Pataky, 39 – who married in 2010 – are also parents to twin sons Tristan and Sasha, 21 months.

When I repeat the praise, and the connections, Hemsworth has an “aw shucks!” moment and stammers: “It’s nice to hear!” before bursting into laughter. “But my parents would say that this is appreciation for humility and that hard work goes a long way.” Hemsworth’s parents are Leonie, an English teacher, and Craig, a social services counsellor whose work took the family — which also includes Chris Hemsworth’s actor-brothers Liam and Luke Hemsworth — to periods living in the natural paradise of Phillip Island and off in the remote Outback town of Bulman in the Northern Territory. After much effort on Melville’s part, Nickerson is persuaded to recount his version of the tragedy, and by the time he’s finished, Melville has the outline of the book he will write.

Howard’s shoot took place in London and at nearby Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire (home to the Harry Potter films) before cast & crew moved to La Gomera and Lanzarote, two of the Canary Islands. But, for the part when the characters are adrift in the Pacific Ocean, resorting to cannibalism, the actors had to eat no more than 500 to 600 calories a day to lose weight and look emaciated.

Over the years, Howard men have performed valiantly in a variety of settings – firefighting, space travel, mathematics, the boxing ring, the motor-racing race track and the newspaper office – but this is the first time he’s taken them to the sea and he quickly gets down to whipping up the white water. As a result, Hemsworth says, the shoot gave rise to “a gallows humour” among the actors, with Benjamin Walker and Cillian Murphy in key support roles. “We’re all losing weight and exhausted and it was an intense shoot, physically and emotionally. Ron Howard, a man not unfamiliar with the survival epic (he made the timeless Apollo 13), directs with the confidence and sure-handedness only a seasoned blockbuster filmmaker can conjure up. But I’ve got to say: Doing it together, as we did — as a tight little unit with the camaraderie that is born from that, with the relationships and bond you have from that — was pretty special.

Naturally, mate and skipper become caught up in a battle of wills over the best way to deal with the turbulence, but it’s already clear that the class war between these two is only a sideshow compared to the big one looming between Man and the natural world. Given modern sensibilities about whale hunting, Howard has a tough time in trying to elicit your sympathies for men who are zestily plunging harpoons into the bodies of such remarkable creatures. The decks of the Essex grow slippery with guts and blubber as the butchering is done and, lest we have any doubt about the country’s desperate need for the oil, the young Nickerson (Tom Holland), serving as a cabin boy, is made to crawl into a whale’s head to extract the most precious essences.

As if the never-ending immensity of the ocean wasn’t enough, the crew meets their foe: A huge sperm whale, ‘a hundred feet long, with alabaster skin.’ The monster is already legendary among seamen, the news of its repeated conquests having travelled all the way to South America. Like Moby Dick itself, this is a morality tale, and in the second half it transforms itself from sea quest into survival story as the crew is stranded far from home with plenty of time to contemplate the lessons that the hunt has taught them. So you’ve got to keep looking at different ways to advance it and do things that are unexpected, and keep looking deeper within the story.” Hemsworth has already played the comic book superhero twice in stand-alone movies: Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). Next up is Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the two parts of Avengers: Infinity War (2018 and 2019). “I haven’t got a script yet,” Hemsworth says of Ragnarok. “But there certainly has been a huge discussion and there is definitely a goal to do something unexpected in the third one and really mix it up. The Martian is still fresh in our minds, but where that film demanded rattled consumption of popcorn in its final moments, this one positively dares you to even think about food.

But scoring with the humour led directly to a call from Paul Feig, who then offered him the comedy role of the receptionist in his femme-heavy reboot of Ghostbusters. In the hands of a lesser director, this tonal shift could’ve been unrecoverable (especially a certain plot development that is sure to shock most viewers), but once again, credit is due to the absolutely brilliant work Ron Howard has done here.

One minor criticism that must be mentioned is the score by Roque Banos: It has little personality, often resorting to the generic beats that we have become so familiar with. We seem to have arrived at a moment in time where the convenience of the Internet has robbed us of all desire to explore: the world is at our fingertips.

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