Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World ★★★★½

As far as historical naval films go, I don't think it gets much better than Master and Commander. I adored this from its very first moments to its glorious final shot.

Peter Weir gives me everything I could ever want out of a Napoleon-era high seas drama. Fascinating characters with well-developed relationships and compelling traits. Tons of detail on the period and crew procedures. An engulfing atmosphere and a quietly observational tone in the more tense moments (the opening scene is heart-stopping) that contributes to an authentic sense of being there in-the-moment. A tangible and thoroughly-defined ship environment filled out with interesting crew dynamics. Elegant, expressive visuals that often resemble paintings of the era. A wonderful pair of central performances and a storyline that breathes enough to allow for character and theme growth, while still adhering to certain effective beats.

What a gorgeous piece of work! Had this become a series of adventures based on Patrick O'Brian's novels, I would have happily paid to see every installment.

Easily one of my favorite new viewings of this year.

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