Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World (2003)
Directed By Peter Weir
Master And Commander is one of those rare breed of films in which the human-side doesn’t become buried underneath the time and place, hyperbole action sequences and naval seamanship dialect, to put in broader terms, the film is an epic. Captain Jack Aubrey played by the startling good Russel Crow takes his rather small vessel known as HMS Surprise (Named for reason’s which will become apparent later in the film), and attempts to intercept the much larger french ship, Acheron before Brazil. At it’s helm a Captain so illusive and talented he receives the nickname “The Phantom”.
Whilst the action sequences are almost perfect and the tension caused by the chase is enough to keep the film chugging away delightfully, where the film is most interesting, well for me personally is the exploration of character and of essentially an undiscovered world. The character study on show is that of Master and Commander Captain Aubrey as he navigates his crew into almost certain doom. We hear stories of Lord Nelson told by Jack, and you almost get a sense that their is self-fulfilling prophecy for him to follow in his footsteps, and he senses it too. His action almost go beyond duty, duty to country and his men, as he embarks into battle on a psychotic verge to fulfill his destiny. There is no question that he has the chops to achieve such a thing, but during pivotal dialogue scenes with his best friend and ship surgeon Dr Maturin the audience is presented with a dichotomy between rooting for a man for the greater good of the people, or rooting for man on a narcissistic war path.
The film is breathtaking and is a must watch for anyone, especially during the scenes in south-america, the film just lacks guts on occasions in the literal and metaphoric sense. I feel that the battle sequences should of been shot more candidly, and without the bullshit censored framing, it made every casualty feel minute, and the battles on occasions quite numb.
But apart from a few gripes on the action frontier, i really enjoyed Weir’s attempt.