A captivating naval-war epic in the early 19th century, narrated with panache
- Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World review by Philip in Paradiso
During the Napoleonic Wars, in the early 19th century, Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) of HMS Surprise is under orders to intercept the frigate, Acheron, a French privateer. Acheron is a heavier ship than HMS Surprise. The game of cat and mouse between the 2 ships takes place over a period of many weeks, around South America, from the coast of Brazil to the Galapagos Islands.
The film is excellent in every respect, in my opinion. The acting is uniformly good and convincing, and the story line is structured well and convincingly. I am not a specialist of the period and naval warfare in the early part of the 19th century, but my impression is that the reconstitution of conditions on board naval ships at the time, and the way that naval battles were fought, is remarkably detailed, accurate and realistic. When watching the film, you really feel that you are on that warship c. 1805. The movie also re-creates the iron hierarchy that exists on a ship very well, showing us very clearly the huge gap between ordinary seamen and officers. The battle scenes are breathtaking and spectacular. None of it ever feels contrived or fake.
Overall, I would say this is a fascinating film if you like this kind of movie. It seems to me that it is a tour de force, if one is going to use a French phrase. You will not be disappointed.
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