Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Set during the Napoleonic wars, this is the epic story of Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), sailing aboard the British HMS Surprise and on a mission to capture or destroy the larger, faster Acheron, a prized vessel in Napoleon’s fleet. Director Peter Weir hasn’t delivered a straight-up swashbuckler, opting instead for something that could certainly be classified as a period piece. Attention to detail is impressive, and part of that detail is the quiet tension that occurs when out to sea. When the sea battles are raging, the film is an intense experience, and such is the case during the more human moments. Paul Bettany, Crowe’s imaginary friend in A Beautiful Mind, plays Crowe’s best friend and ship doctor. Crowe does great work here, commanding the film much as he did in Gladiator, as an action star with depth.

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