Monday, 10 December 2018

Moby Dick drama’s a ‘winter blockbuster’

THE timing of Ron Howard’s whale-hunting epic In the Heart of the Sea seems rather odd.

THE timing of Ron Howard’s whale-hunting epic In the Heart of the Sea seems rather odd.

At first glance this is an action film that should have been released over the summer along with the crop of other blockbusters competing hard for audiences’ attention.

Perhaps with a Christmas release, though, the director sees a prime opportunity to lay siege to box offices around the country and make some serious money.

Indeed, Howard, with a reported $100million (£65.9million) budget for the film will be hoping it does just that. He will also be watching carefully as to how the film performs — in the US it flopped and took a meagre $11 million (£7.25million) after its debut in more than 3,000 cinemas last week.

This seems at odds with Howard’s previous success. After all, this is the man who directed the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, the white-knuckle ride that was Apollo 13, and the gladiatorial Frost/Nixon.



One thing’s for sure, though, with this effort, and on the basis of critics’ reviews so far, Howard is in no danger of troubling Oscar voters this time around.

The film is based on the incredible story that inspired Moby Dick author Herman Melville and stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson.

Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, from which the film takes its plot, tells the story of one of the most notorious maritime disasters of the 19th century. In 1820, crewmen 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.

In the Heart of the Sea is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from Boxing Day.

Review: David White



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