Critic Reviews



Based on 47 critic reviews provided by
The picture is sometimes wayward and unwieldy, its dialogue creaky and awkward, like an amateur’s attempt at scrimshaw.... But in a movie climate rife with superhero reboots and rehashings of childhood favorites, it’s a small marvel that In the Heart of the Sea exists at all.
The Guardian
Director Ron Howard does a solid job of getting the smell of salt off the page and into the picture. The first half works quite well simply as a procedural, but when the action comes we run into trouble. The well-earned seriousness is washed away as we’re broadsided by B-movie tropes.
There’s so much incident crammed into this tale of misfortune that there’s never quite enough time to truly tangle with the sheets and sails of its meaning.
Given the weighty themes of Moby Dick, In The Heart Of The Sea doesn't have a lot going on behind the outward action. The composite parts are in fine working order; it's the sum that's slightly lacking.
Fluid, shifting and tense, the action here easily outstrips the film’s basic set-up (man tests himself against nature, is humbled), which can feel like unconvincing filler between surges of effects work.
Village Voice
Howard is great at capturing the timbre of the ship, the creaks and snaps and the whir of the hemp lines, and the sonar clicks of the whales strategizing below. All his sound and fury has a befuddling purpose. His emotional climax is about, well, disaster insurance.
A sort of maritime Donner Party, In the Heart of the Sea is a rugged but underwhelming true-life drama of a cursed 19th century whaling voyage.
The Playlist
Visual daring is nice, but it means little in the end when the ultimately safe and harmless story never rocks the boat.
Lovers of spectacle for spectacle’s sake will come away from the film with many discrete sequences to admire, but there’s not enough of a human element to bridge them together. In terms of its lasting power, In the Heart of the Sea roars in like a great tide, but then just as quickly dissipates.
In the Heart of the Sea feels stiff and unconvincing, weirdly devoid of texture, and populated by ciphers who speak primarily in the leaden language of exposition.

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