In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea

Ron Howard (2015)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Ron Howard's broad-brush tale of Nantucket whaleship the Essex, sunk by a giant cetacean in the South Pacific in 1820, might have been an epic on the scale of John Huston's 1956 film Moby Dick. Instead, corporeal threat is sapped by wall-to-wall CGI used to create the sperm whales that draw the ship 1,500 nautical miles from land and the giant white that destroys it. Benjamin Walker's hubristic Captain, Cillian Murphy's teetotal Second Mate and Tom Holland's green cabin boy stand out from the crew, while star Chris Hemsworth's First Mate is bland. It's largely immaterial, as individuals are hard to pick out amid endless water-tank panic and eventual shipwreck. Screenwriter Charles Leavitt's framing device with Moby-Dick author Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) extracting testimony from haunted survivor Brendan Gleeson offers rare emotional depth. Some of the best visuals - such as the scale of the whale revealed as it passes underwater - are straight out of Jaws, and for all cinematographer Antony Dod Mantle's artistry, endless foregrounded objects in sharp focus are clearly designed to show off the 3D in cinemas, itself a loss of nerve in a relatively slight story.


A whaling ship sets sail from New England in 1820, only to come under attack from a gigantic whale that seems to want revenge on them. In the aftermath of the attack, the surviving members of the crew face further physical and moral challenges as they try to stay alive on the open sea. Fact-based historical adventure, starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw.

Cast & Crew

Owen Chase Chris Hemsworth
George Pollard Benjamin Walker
Matthew Joy Cillian Murphy
Herman Melville Ben Whishaw
Old Thomas Nickerson Brendan Gleeson
Young Thomas Nickerson Tom Holland (2)
Peggy Charlotte Riley
Caleb Chappel Paul Anderson (2)
Benjamin Lawrence Joseph Mawle
Henry Coffin Frank Dillane
Director Ron Howard
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 25 Dec 2015