New On Netflix: Moby Dick

[BoxTitle]Moby Dick[/BoxTitle] [Netflix] [NetflixWatch id="70201172"/] [NetflixAdd id="70201172"/]

“Thar she blows!” William Hurt is Captain Ahab in this two-part adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic tale of obsession, madness and one really big, pissed-off white whale. Ahab takes his crew, including his disapproving First Mate (Ethan Hawke) and novice sailor Ishmael (Charlie Cox), on a journey of watery hell as they track down the mighty beast that chomped off his leg — but who, really, is the true “monster” here? Hurt comes across as a little too stoned (as usual) to pull off the Captain’s seething, blind and ultimately absurd rage at what is essentially a dumb animal (or is it?), and Hawke has little to do but scowl and disapprove, but the filmmakers manage to deliver some truly spectacular whaling scenes — and the titular creature itself is often a wonder to behold, even with the limited budget of a television miniseries (the scene at the end of Part 1 where it shoots straight up out of the water and hovers mid-air for a few seconds before slamming back into the sea is rather jaw-dropping). Moby Dick especially excels at portraying the 19th-century details and procedures of what was a very difficult and challenging (and many would argue amoral) trade — you truly get a sense of the tedium, the occasional thrills and the extreme danger that came with a life at sea. And the final battle between man and beast is breathtaking.

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