topfivefilms.com Tuesday 18th January 2022
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Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World (12A)
Directed by: Peter Weir
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Take a best selling series of novels by Irish author Patrick O'Brien, amalgamate two of them into one story, alter a few critical plot points, remove half the storyline and cast Russell Crowe as Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey, and you have the recipe for Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World.

Billy Boyd pretends he's not really a Hobbit
Billy Boyd pretends he's not really a Hobbit

Peter Weir, the Australian director of The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society and Gallipoli, has gone to great lengths to produce a film that captures life at sea during the Napoleonic wars, telling the story of a British vessel that is ordered to hunt down a faster, stronger and altogether superior French frigate in the Pacific Ocean.

Weir has clearly decided to focus the film on the relationship between close friends Captain Jack (Crowe) and the ship's doctor (Paul Bettany), in an attempt to capture some of the essence of the original books, and the resulting on-screen partnership is truly fun to watch.

The script is well written, in that it is both engaging and funny, Russell Crowe is as charismatic as ever, and the acting in general is very fine. Unfortunately, the plot holds few surprises and would probably work better if it were moved along a little more quickly. Instead, Weir has tried to build the tension and drag the film out into a Naval epic, resulting in too little action and not enough storyline to go around.

As historical epics go, this one is treading water somewhere between the shallow waves of The Patriot and the roaring swells of Gladiator, and I'd seriously consider watching any of Finding Nemo (U), Seabiscuit (PG) or Hayao Miyazaki's excellent Spirited Away (PG) before resorting to this less than perfect nautical adaptation.

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Length: 138 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site: http://www.masterandcommanderthefarsideoftheworld.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311113/
Release Date: 28th November 2003

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)

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