Sunday, December 27, 2015

In The Heart Of The Sea showing in Ireland and Britain

Filming on location La Gomera (image: © AK)
The long-awaited latest Ron Howard movie 'In the Heart of the Sea', which was partially shot here in La Gomera (and had me working on set as a picture double rowing whaling boats and 'drowning' three times before being reborn with a new wig as a different character), is now finally showing in cinemas across Ireland and Britain. It opened earlier this month in most other countries worldwide and it's definitely a must-see film. Here's what the Irish Times had to say about the movie a few days ago:

'' It’s 1850 and budding novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) has arrived at an inn belonging to Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson), the last surviving crewman of the whaling ship Essex. Nickerson proceeds with a tale that is as catastrophic as it is swashbuckling. As a 14-year-old tearaway, he boarded the ill-starred vessel. The Nantucket whaling industry was at the peak of its economic powers, replete with makeshift stock exchange and venture capitalists. To keep up with the demand for whale oil, boats were travelling further and further into increasingly treacherous waters, often for years at a time. The Essex would be no different.
The voyage would, however, be characterised by the high tensions between a privileged inexperienced young captain (Benjamin Walker, channelling the movieverse’s mean-spirited interpretation of Captain Blyth) and his first mate, the heroic veteran whaler Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth makes with the derring-do). Relations improve after Chase’s first kill brings in a decent haul of oil. But then they mess with the wrong whale.

''Squall of the wild: Chris Hemsworth having a whale of a time in Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea'' (Irish Times)

There are many pleasures to be derived from Ron Howard’s adaptation of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, the award-winning historical chronicle by Nathaniel Philbrick. In common with Moby Dick - the epic novel that was inspired by the events depicted here - it might reasonably be argued that the vengeful white sperm whale who picks off the sailors, one by one, is actually the movie’s hero. The scenes depicting whaling are, in fact, as horrific as the terrible fates visited, respectively, on the Essex’s crew.
There are fascinating historical details and ecological warnings to be gleaned but, at heart, this is a delightfully old-fashioned high seas adventure. Unsurprisingly, Howard and regular DOP Anthony Dod Mantle fashion some spectacular images and the terrific ensemble acquit themselves with aplomb. ''

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