Monday, November 27, 2017

Review of 'In the Heart of the Sea'

A visually stunning sea-faring movie, with lots of sails ripping, masts splintering and so on. It's based on the true story that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick, about a Nantucket whaling ship called the Essex that was sunk by a white whale bent on revenge. Melville appears in the film, interviewing the now-older sailor who was one of the survivors of the disaster, and helping him to resolve his torments via a talking cure of telling his story.

The film wasn't on release for long, which is a bit of a surprise because it's very well made. The cinematography is really really felt like I was on the ship, in the storms and out on the whaling boats.

Of course no-one has much sympathy with whaling now, but it's impossible not to be struck by the bravery of the men involved; it was brave and physically demanding for anyone to put to sea in tiny fragile boats, but the demands of whaling were so much more - going out in tiny boats, being dragged across the rough seas by huge whales, fires on deck to boil down blubber...

It does make it clear just how significant the discovery of oil in the ground was - it gets a mention towards the end of the film. For the northern world whale oil was an industrially significant source of fuel for lamps. Only the non-availability of other sources in sufficient quantities could have justified the effort and risk to which the whalers subjected themselves; only the absence of other sources of employment could have compelled men to take up such work.

Watched on TV via Chromecast, PC, Chromestream - and informal distribution.

No comments: