Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

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

A gorgeous, exciting and intelligently scripted story about pride, friendship, leadership and sacrifice. Breathtaking battle scenes are stages for personality and character development; elevating the numerous sailors we follow from mere swashbuckling types to complex, diversely driven souls all working in pursuit of something they see higher than themselves. At the center of this is Captain Aubrey (Crowe) and the ship's surgeon (Bettany). The film soars the highest when these two are simply conversing and playing the violin and cello in their quarters; discussing what it means to be a leader, the ethical limits of performing a duty, strategy as philosophy and vice versa. It's about the unnatural life a sailor leads. A thrilling, beautiful meditation on humanity's compulsion to dominate and need to reflect; to glimpse the underlying engines of creation both in naturalist discoveries on the Galapagos and in the sacrifices made on-board their "little wooden worlds". It's the rare action movie that rouses and compels through affirming life rather than glorifying it's destruction; as Weir perfectly crafts an epic without sacrificing character in the slightest. A masterpiece that ought to be remembered as an indisputable classic.

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