In The Heart of the Sea 2015 ***

Another expensive-to-realise, hard-to-relate-to premise is featured in Ron Howard’s seafaring adventure; who wants to hear the true story that inspired Moby Dick? But Howard is a craftsman, and even his weaker efforts have some fun elements. A framing story, featuring Herman Melville (Ben Wishaw in a stuck-on beard) interviewing Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) about his past, is complete gibberish, but has a lovely background of a New England town. Things perk up when Liam Hemsworth swashbuckles his way centre-stage as Owen Chase, whose ship is sunk by a giant white whale, and then tail off into a unsatisfying story about cannibalism. But where In The Heart of the Sea fails as drama, it gets points for originality; it’s as high, wide and handsome as the hero, and evokes the spirit if not the letter of Melville’s work.


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