First Hit: Started interestingly, ended good, but the large middle was monotonous and slowly sank into the dark of the sea.
Films based in the ocean with underwater sequences have a higher likeliness of not being good. I’m not sure why except they become dark and slow.
Yet, films shot inside submarines and underwater tend to be better (Like: Hunt for Red October 1990 or Run Silent Run Deep 1958) as my dad would have attested to. He probably watched the latter more than 20 times and could recite the dialogue of every character. Why? Probably because submarine films are character based while ocean films must have ocean characters. Of course the film "Jaws" would be an exception.
This story is about a whale called Moby Dick and how Herman Melville wrote this famous story. The view of the story is from one of the survivors of a multi-year whaling adventure which included 90 days of being stranded on the ocean in a dinghy.
The survivor Tom Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson and the young Tom/Thomas portrayed by Tom Holland) is being interviewed by Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) about the experience he had when the whale scuttled the Essex after almost 2 years hunting whales. Moby destroyed the ship and left the remaining crew to drift.
The other part of the story is about the disagreements and personality differences between Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) and First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth). This initial focus of the film was interesting as was Melville’s interview with Nickerson. However, the rest of the film tried to be interesting through visuals and very little on the strength or weaknesses of the individuals and when they tried it wasn’t very interesting.
Hemsworth was OK but there seemed to be little depth to his character. Walker was mediocre as the privileged captain. Holland was good as the young seaman learning how to me a man. Whishaw was very good in his small part as Melville. Gleeson was the spirit of this film and the best part of the film. Charles Leavitt wrote a so so script for most of the characters except Gleeson and Melville. Ron Howard didn’t come close to creating the masterpiece I think he wanted.
Overall: The previews I saw telegraphed this uninteresting film.