The performances in the movie were all really good. It is a well acted movie. Chris Hemsworth and Benjamin Walker, the two leads, both were great and the story had them pitch together in this sort of rivalry, that kinda reminded me of Ron Howard's previous movie also starring Hemsworth, Rush. And while it was no where near that good, it still resulted in tension and commotion between characters.
The movie takes its sweet time to get things going, the starting 15-20 mins can be a bit too slow for some, but I wasn't bothered by it. The characters and world set up was interesting enough that I was reeled into it. There was a bit of connection with the crew as well, which I liked and if the movie was longer, they could have expanded it even more. The retelling of the story in the movie was handled quite well and I got attached to the characters involved, which many similar movies usually fail to do, so kudos for that.
When things really get going, it's a blast. Tension filled scenes with beautiful imagery makes for some really thrilling scenes. The CGI was mostly good, especially of the whales. And I liked the soundtrack as well.
It is ultimately a survival film though, and it was pretty depressing to see that part of the movie. It was executed finely and shifted the tone to a lot more darker and somber region.
The pacing of the movie however was a bit iffy. There were scenes that went on for far too long and then there were moments which should have gotten more screentime but instead felt rushed. Also, the decision to shoot the movie in 1.85:1 ratio instead of widescreen 2.35:1 ratio was a kind of a double edged sword for me. At one point, I enjoyed the more close up cinematography nature of the film, gave it a bit more personal feel. But in more action oriented sequences, it got somewhat annoying and would have benefited more from wider nature of widescreen photography. Also, the lighting in those action scenes was often too artificial, which gave it a artistic look, but when the rest of the movie doesn't look or feel like that, it became too fake-y. The movie certainly would have benefited from a longer run-time, focused on more pressing scenes.
With all that said and done, I still really enjoyed the film, and most of my issues are towards the technical side, and while they do hamper the experience, the effect is mild.