*the second of six very short reviews, in an attempt to catch up on 2015 film journalism before the 2016 movie season really kicks in*
Oh, the ever-varying career of Ron Howard. Over decades, the director has given us classics like Parenthood and A Beautiful Mind- and far less capable films such as The Grinch or The Da Vinci Code.
Unfortunately, his latest whale of a tale (I had more fun using that phrase than I did watching the movie!), In The Heart of the Sea, easily falls into the latter category. Unbelievable characters and a distinct lack of purpose rob this otherwise gripping story of any heart.
Frequent screenplay doctor Charles Leavitt crafts a tale about a crew of men with a daring goal, and Ron Howard directs the narrative with his usual gravitas (and some odd color grading). It fails to come together, however, precisely because the filmmakers themselves do not seem to have an artistic goal in mind.
Ben Whishaw and the illustrious Brendon Gleeson's sequences- which concern the writer of Moby Dick gathering true facts for his novel- are the most compelling, as they strive towards a theme of overcoming internal struggles. When Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland are facing off against the whale, the thinly drawn characters and insipid pacing only contribute to a soulless procedural with little to say.
This adventure isn't worthless, but it sure is boring.