Saturday, October 8, 2011

Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

The whaling industry in America was a contradictory one: a rousing and courageous adventure on a contemplative sea with the goal of viciously slaughtering a passive beast. From 17th to 19th century America, the whaling industry out of New England bolstered the country's economy to the point that it was a major factor in breaking off from England, and helped to make The United States a formidable world power in the decades to follow. "Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World" is a reflective and elegiac history of the controversial enterprise intercut with the tragic story of the whaling ship The Essex which inspired young whaler Herman Melville to pen his magnum opus Moby Dick. Director Ric Burns does a wonderful job of presenting haunting images and music here and is given great support by a studied and well spoken groups of experts on the subject. Willem Dafoe's narration is quietly powerful and this entry into the "American Experience" series does a fantastic job of showing the many different facets of this incredible and brutal industry.