Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Without sounding easily bemused or corny, this movie really is glorious filmmaking. With Peter Weir’s steady and skilled direction we get to really know the life of the early 19th century. We also get to know an armada of characters and genuinely feel for them. Russell Crowe is outstanding as Captain Jack Aubrey. His physicality and emotions are expertly showcased. When he gives a motivational speech you’d understand why people would follow him to the ends of the earth. Paul Bettany (again buddying up to Crowe after A Beautiful Mind) is Oscar-worthy for his performance as the ship’s doctor and confidant to the Captain. He’s not afraid to question the Captain’s motives, like following a dangerous French ship all around South America. Master and Commander hums with life, and the battle sequences are heart-stopping and beautifully filmed. It took three studios to produce and release this and every dollar spent can be seen on the screen. Master and Commander is fantastic compelling entertainment with thrills, humanity, and wonder. Its grand old school Hollywood filmmaking.
Nates Grade: A