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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Ron Howard

Starring:
Chris Hemsworth/Chase
Cillian Murphy/Matthew
Brendan Gleeson/Tom
Ben Whishaw/herman
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
In 1820 a whaling ship picks the wrong mammal to f*ck with; a mammoth sperm whale. He totals the sailors; they have to pick up the pieces and find a way to survive,.
THE LOWDOWN

To be honest, when I saw the trailer for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, I was surprised that the film even got made in the first place, yet alone with a mammoth budget of “$100,000,000 “. I mean the flick was a period piece set in a time when men were men and everybody believed in God. Not really "now" material. Furthermore it starred Chris Hemsworth who has yet to successfully open a picture outside of Thor and heavily used Moby Dick in its marketing campaign, a tale that most 13 to 21 years old of today know next to nothing about. And don't get me started on opening it a week before STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS. Bad timing! So when the flick had a weak tit opening weekend, banking in a paltry 11 million, I wasn’t too surprised. On that, you bet your chastity belt there was no way I would let what looked like a mature/old fashioned adventure on the big screen go down without my coin. So although late in the game, I put my money where my dong is and went to see IN THE HEART OF THE SEA – I came out of there a wowed moviegoer.

This baby was inspired by the real life disaster that drove Herman Melville to write 'Moby-Dick'. The structure of the film worked like this: Melville (Ben Whishaw, Q in the new Bond films) interviews Nickerson (f-ing awesome actor Brendan Gleeson). The scenes were 100% fiction, purely there to jump start the “in the past” story. And their bla bla session led us to what went down when the whaling ship 'Essex' set sails and eventually got rocked and punished hardcore in the South Pacific, by a humongous Sperm Whale with a bad case of attitude problem. Personally, as the end credits rolled I perceived it as a mix of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (Brando or Gibson version – pick one!) and ORCA, two great films in my book of blood, hence it was hard to go wrong with them. Yes the plot elements were familiar, but the execution was arresting nonetheless. I was completely entranced by the varied settings here (the film was faithful to its period when it came to its sets and costumes) and the way Howard captured the vast/desolate/dangerous ocean was entrancing to say the least. When a director makes me stop for a second to take in the visual decor that he served up, then I know he did his job right.

Furthermore Howard (and DP Anthony Mantle) went on to communicate the bulk of his action driven scenes via novel shots and angles that were outside norm. Inventive was the word! Me with my balls dropped to the floor was the result. The acting on hand impressed me too; Chris Hemsworth was excellent as the proud whaler that wants to captain his own ship one day (and yes his dramatic weight loss throughout was f-ing nuts). The dude had a Brad Pitt in his hey-days feel to him. Cillian Murphy (who would make for a great Jesus now that I’ve seen him in beard), the always EXCELLENT Benjamin Walker (of  Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter), young Tom Holland and the rest of the cast were all solid to say the least! Then we had the actual whale attack/action scenes elbow dropping in to cause some damage. WOW. All I had to say while I was experiencing them, WOW. Howard did a fantastic job in executing said scenes, milking fear and suspense out of said sequences. And I’m not talking some of that modern/amateur hour quick cut/close shot garbage to disguise the lack of coverage or knowledge as to how to shoot an action scene – I’m yapping real talent here, earnest directing: wide shot, side of the whale POV shots, birds eye shots... the works! 

Topple on top of that an effortless pace (I read that some people were bored now and again – didn’t happen to me, not for a second), a powerful knack of suggesting its more ugly chain of events resulting in maximum whoopas, some fairly seemless CGI and a heart that was bigger than my wallet which resulted in me being put through the man-bitch ringer and you get a sturdy thriller for the whole family! If they have half a brain that is. Now, here’s what I didn’t care about: first and foremost, although appealing on its own, mostly due to the performances, the present day “interview” didn’t bring much to the storyline. So other than seeing two solid actors go at it, and getting some minor insight, it was kind of a waste, It would have been dandy if both storylines would have complemented themselves as opposed to working well but individually. But this film’s biggest sin of all was its predictability factor and I almost feel like an asshole bringing it up. The bottom line is, the true story of The Essex was beat to the punch in terms of cinematic impact via films like MOBY DICK, ORCA, JAWS, ALIVE, the aforementioned MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY, RAVENOUS... to name a few. So even though the story of SEA came first, the varied flicks INSPIRED by it that have come out over the years have somewhat diluted the whole thing in a been there, done that type of way.

On that, I somewhat let that go. Why? How? Cause I was witnessing a picture that was trying real hard to be emotionally resonant and old fashioned while offering a spectacle. One that put emphasis on situation/character and communicated said elements via a mature, clever and classy directing style. Yes, I came out of IN THE HEART OF THE SEA with a big smile of my face. It didn’t re-invent the wheel, but it did remind me as to WHY I love films and WHY I am trying to make them. So you gonna embrace this one for what it is already or just wait for the next waste of theatre starring a horde of rapping Chipmunks? Nough said.

GORE
A gross whale carcass being butchered and explored within and some dry deaths.
T & A
Why you reading this? of course there's nothing. Perv!
BOTTOM LINE
In the Heart of the Sea deserved a WAYYYYY better fate at the box office then what it got. The flick had an easy pace, stand-out performances, tension charged whale attacks, bang-on special effects, visually striking settings and enough humanity to make this mothertrucker tear up. Sure, although beautifully acted, the wrap around story didn't bring much more meat to the proceedings and the chain of events was somewhat predictable taking into account previous films of its ilk, but all was said and done, I mucho appreciated IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. It was all class and I will see it again.
BULL'S EYE
The cast put themsleves on a diet of 500 to 600 calories a day to lose weight for their parts.

Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth also worked together on the excellent Rush in 2013.

These Game of Thrones actors were in the film: Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark) and Donald Sumpter (Maester Luwin).
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11:33AM on 12/17/2015
Releasing the movie quite close to Star Wars isn't helping either.
Releasing the movie quite close to Star Wars isn't helping either.
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