Big Miracle

Eskimos, activists, politicians and Soviets unite to save some trapped whales

Big Miracle

© 2012 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. All Rights Reserved.

Director: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Vinessa Shaw
Time Out rating:
Japanese title: Dare mo ga Kujira wo Ai Shiteru

In the fall of 1988, three trapped whales struggled to reach the ocean, inspiring disparate folks from around the globe – Eskimos, environmental activists, even a Russian seaman or two – to come together for an emergency rescue operation. Now, in the winter of 2012, those same dogged mammals have prompted an equally motley crew – romantic stalwart Drew Barrymore, television stars John Krasinski and Ted Danson, character actors and improv comics – to do the same in Ken Kwapis's dramatisation. It all starts when Krasinski's bored local newsman stumbles onto the creatures off the icy coast of Barrow, Alaska. His reports spark both a media circus and a mass attempt to release these beasts back into the wild.

A veteran TV director, Kwapis presents a shrewdly sceptical view of the calculated opportunism behind 'miracles'; if Danson's drill-happy oilman didn't need a good photo op, those whales would have ended up deader than the cast of The Cove. You'd have to possess a heart colder than the Northern tundra not to care about these poor animals working their flukes off to jerk audience tears, but emotional manipulation or not, this is still a movie about people standing around a hole waiting for something to happen. The source material, Tom Rose's 1989 book Freeing the Whales, called the incident 'the world's greatest non-event.' At the very least, the film stays remarkably faithful to the idea behind that last word.

Big Miracle opens at Toho Cinemas Chanter on July 14

By Matt Singer
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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