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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moby Dick (2010)

A young sailor (Charlie Cox), along with his newly acquired Polynesian friend (Raoul Trujillo), sign on to a New England whaling vessel out of Nantucket. Once aboard, they discover their Captain (William Hurt) is determined to seek out the white whale known as Moby Dick, who bit off his leg, and get his revenge. While on its own terms, this is a well done sea yarn, make no mistake about it. This is not Melville's MOBY DICK! Understandably, it lacks the complexities of the Melville novel but enough liberties have been taken with the plot that would make admirers of the novel spit! For example, Captain is given a hand wringing "Please don't go to sea, dear!" wife in the form of Gillian Anderson. The novel's good natured second mate Stubb (Eddie Marsan) is inexplicably made a rather cruel and petty character. Hurt's wan performance is all wrong for Ahab. It lacks the relentless obsession necessary for the character, there's no demon in his soul. Some of the other performances aren't bad. Ethan Hawke makes for an effective Starbuck, Trujillo's Queequeg is very good but Cox's Ishmael is a cipher and Donald Sutherland makes for dull Father Mapple. The film itself turns Moby Dick into something resembling the shark from JAWS rather than the enigmatic symbol of the Melville novel. Directed by Mike Barker and handsomely shot by Richard Greatrex (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE).

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