In the Heart of the Sea

Director: Ron Howard
Year Released: 2015
Rating: 2.0

American novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) pays the last surviving member of whaling vessel The Essex, Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson), to tell him about the atrocities that took place after a terrible encounter with a white whale ... and the heroism of the ship's first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). Howard is fine scooting his camera around and making the action scenes feel exciting, but he - working from a script by Charles Leavitt (based on the non-fiction book by Nathaniel Philbrick) - can't work the same wonders with the flat, vaguely drawn characters: at first it tries setting up a (forced) rivalry between Chase and the boat's captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) but then abandons it once the predatory sea monster starts flipping around and behaving like a guided missile. More could have been done with the (elder) Nickerson character - he suffers from some kind of PTSD ... and as we're learning, people with that condition don't just open up to anyone.