Master and Commander: Far Side of the World
3/4
poster

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Action
Year 2003
Duration 138 min
Rating 7.5 out of 10
Description: During the Napoleonic Wars, a British frigate, HMS Surprise, and a much larger French warship, the Acheron, with greater fire power, stalk each other off of the coast of South America. Russell Crowe brings great intensity to the role of Captain Jack Aubrey. Lucky Jack, as he is referred to by his crew, is well regarded by his men, who trust him implicitly, even after the first devastating battle and an apparent personal vendetta against the French captain. While the naval battle sequences are quite fantastic, the film is successful because director Weir chose to build the story to get to know the men who are locked aboard the tight quarters of a small ship and how they interact everyday. The officers and the mates are well-known by the time the final battle comes. Paul Bettany offers a strong performance as the surgeon and naturalist who balances the violence of his chosen life with the quiet demeanor of the scientist. He is the captain's friend and confidant, the two frequently playing violin and cello duets together. The horrors of the injuries from the war are frequently implied, but vividly depicted in the reactions of the characters.
Comments: Master and Commander succeeds not so much in the fact that it has an exceptional plot, but in the fact that it carries the viewer along on its voyage exceptionally. It follows the voyage of Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey sailing for the English empire while being chased by a French vessel during the Napoleonic Wars. It's not an entirely innovative or original plot, but it's the experience rather than the plot that drives this movie. The chemistry between the characters and strong performances by all is what make it an exceptional movie. Rather than casting good-looking Hollywood types as crew members, Peter Weir went after people who look like believable seamen who are also great actors in their own right. The cast even had a sort of boot camp training so that everyone knew how to make the ship function. It is this attention to detail that make the movie so believable and enjoyable. Rather than indulging itself in melodrama and Hollywood type moral-based clichés, this film pulls no punches about how it perceives the workings of a British Naval ship to function in the early 19th century. It simply bleeds authenticity at every corner. Excellent performances by Crowe and his doctor right-hand-man played by Paul Bettany only add to the thrill.

The film also has a great original and non-original score which makes it flow perfectly. The interaction between the ship members is what makes it a success. Though 2+hours may seem like a long time to spend with an all-male cast inside a ship, I was never once bored. Instead, you truly feel like you are in the ship with them and at the end you feel like you would want to follow Russel Crowe's "Captain Jack" virtually anywhere he would lead.