The Bottom Line: Master and Commander The Far Side of the World is one of the best films of the year and a likely Oscar contender not to be missed.
In 1805, control of the seas was key to the wealth and power of a nation. With rich trade routes and colonies at stake, France and England found themselves locked in a bloody war for control of Europe and the high seas. On board the HMS Surprise, Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), and his crew patrol the waters off Brazil in an effort to keep the French cruiser Acheron from the area.
The Acheron comes upon the Surprise and unleashes a devastating attack that leaves the surprise damages and adrift with several of the crew injured and dead in the process. Aubrey is surprised that the Acheron seemed to know exactly where and when his ship would be and voices to his senior staff that he is concerned that there may be an information leak in their command structure back home.
Despite this concern, Aubrey decides to peruse the Acheron rather than return to port knowing he is vastly out gunned and out manned by his opponent. In the ensuing story, Aubrey plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Acheron and confronts all manner of dangers ranging from the weather to doubts amongst his crew regarding their mission.
Visually the film is stunning, as Director Peter Weir has paid very close attention to detail, making the look and feel of the film very authentic. The action sequences are intense and are easily the best depiction of ancient naval engagements ever committed to film. Viewers will feel as if they are a part of the crew as cannon shells and carnage erupt in a symphony of violence and sound that show the true ferocity of the engagements. I was also impressed with the detail given to the ships pattern of maneuvers during combat as the ship battles stayed consistent with naval strategies of the time.
The supporting cast is solid as even minor players are given scenes that help establish them as individuals rather than scruffy masses on the ship. Paul Bettany is outstanding as DR. Maturin the ships doctor and friend to Captain Aubrey. Maturin is very loyal top the captain, but would rather study specimens on the tropical islands rather than Peruse the Acheron that he confesses may be a quest to satisfy the ego of the captain.
Aside from Weir, what really powers the film is the strong Oscar worthy performance by Crowe. His portrayal of Aubrey is dynamic and captivating and commands your attention when he is on the screen. Crowe shows once again that he is one of the top actors alive and can power a film to dynamic heights.
Master and Commander The Far Side of the World is one of the best films of the year and a likely Oscar contender not to be missed.
The year was 1805 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. France and England were in a seemingly relentless life and death struggle for control of the seas. In those days the oceans were where the major battles were fought. Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) has drawn an especially difficult assignment. As Commander of the British man-of-war "Surprise" he has been ordered to pursue the bigger, faster and highly elusive … more
There are not many movies that actually enhance the reading of a good book, much less books, but Master and Commander does exactly that. Patrick O'Brian's Aubery-Maturin series is the kind of literature that sucks you in and won't let go. While telling the story of a charismatic British Naval sea captain and his ships surgeon, O'Brian recreated the whole world of the 19th century British seaman. But as wonderful as those books are with thier nautical language and exciting … more
"Master And Commander" is a masterpiece of a film. It shows an accurate description of Napoleonic-era nautical warfare, as well as the bonds shared between a group of men on the sea. Russell Crowe plays Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, leader of the HMS Surprise. Paul Bettany plays the ship's doctor/Aubrey's confidant. The entire cast does an outstanding job.The story begins with an attack on the Surprise by the Acheron, a French warship that Aubrey is hunting. The rest of the film plays out with Aubrey … more
The best that can be said of this movie is that the special effects, realistic sea battles, and cinematography are fantastic. They really make the movie. Unfortunately, the story itself is rather plodding and does /not/ do Patrick O'Brain's novel justice. The plot is essentially a cat and mouse game between Captain Aubrey (British) and a French ship in 1805. There are subplots-such as leadership, bonding of the crew, superstition, and the brilliant seamanship of the Captain. The ship's doctor is … more
Those who enjoyed the various Horatio Hornblower films (one of which stars Gregory Peck) will especially appreciate this adaptation of material from a series of novels written by Patrick O'Brian. Directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe as Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander examines life aboard a British warship during the Napoleonic Wars as it encounters and is battered by a French privateer, the Acheron, and then pursues its enemy from the coast of Brazil southward around … more
Pros: Superb acting; attention to detail; sweeping ocean vistas. Cons: Not long enough. The Bottom Line: In the final analysis, as the credit rolled I felt cheated; I wanted more or this suburb movie about naval action in the 19th century. Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. I love the ocean; the smell of seaweed in the morning as it is carried in one a cool ocean breeze full of freshness. … more
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin and released by 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films and Universal Studios. It is adapted from three novels in the Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture, and won in two categories, Best Cinematography and Sound Effects Editing. The movie is also notable for being on the list of most expensive films of all time, adjusted for inflation.