- TV Movie
- 1h 30min
A whaling ship called called the Essex becomes shipwrecked and those on board struggle for survival.A whaling ship called called the Essex becomes shipwrecked and those on board struggle for survival.A whaling ship called called the Essex becomes shipwrecked and those on board struggle for survival.
With The Whale there is certainly the sense of a drama where we have a solid meat and potatoes historical epic but it knows it is this. As a result we get a product that is so focused on being what it says on the tin that it really doesn't do much else. It delivers the basic elements of the story in a practical sense but does so without too much flair. There are some visual devices (such as the blood on the water) but generally it is a surprisingly straight telling and I found myself unmoved by the plight and the events. Odd the film seems to take longer at the start than at the end – the life boat period goes by too quickly, with only a short amount of time in the boat. Likewise the whale of the title is limited in its time on screen.
It probably didn't help that a day or so before I watched this, I saw Life of Pi and Blackfish, so life boat sequences and the suffering of whales were both in my mind. Anyway, the cast are given chunky but obvious dialogue to deliver and most manage it just fine. Sheen is placed front and centre, stuck in some nice facial hair additions and left to simply be Martin Sheen, this proving this is a quality film, right? His narration is as dry as the sailor's lips though – telling his best moment is one where he is silent when they cut to him. The rest of the cast are solid despite having mostly nautical clichés to deliver – not helped by the scenario being familiar to the viewer. Armstrong, Rayner, Furness, Gyasi, Boyega and others are all decent enough. The film looks good and the effects are technically good even if they do look like a really well render shape, rather than a real whale. Sets, costumes and the like are all fine – but it never doesn't feel like a BBC Sunday night.
It is worth a look if you are in an undemanding mood, but it is workmanlike fare without too much flair or substance outside of all the material you already know will be in there.
- bob the moo
- Jun 11, 2014