Film reviews

Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World, Dir: Peter Weir, Cert: 12A

"Sighting against the watch, Sir", and Crowe makes his dramatic entrance to drum roll, and fast paced action. As a flash is seen across the water and the crew are bid "take cover!", time stands still, before cannonball rips through the timbers of HMS Surprise. It would seem that not only are we transported back through time, but in two ways we also find ourselves thick in the 'golden age' of cinema once again, as this swash-buckling feature, surely set to become described as an 'epic', relays to the audience all the action and tension that made this variety of film such a hit back in the heady days of cinema, synonymous with such actors as Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn et' al.

This particular feature is set, we are told, at a time surrounding the Napoleonic Wars, and is seen from the side of the British Navy (of course), recreating as only we can wonder all but 'smell' of those times where men where men and those men who were, well afraid, cast out as outsiders (no difference there then). But back to our 'hero', the brave and fearless Captain 'Lucky' Jack Aubrey, a man who has, we later find out sat at the table of another great hero of Britain's navel past, Lord Nelson. Russell Crowe has been cast well here by Director: Peter Weir, and as such commands the screen in each of the scenes in which he appears, standing almost 'god-like' at the bow of his ship. The authority of this character shouldn't take away however from the rest of the cast who, it has to be said did too, command great performances, from those set in the thick of battle, to others almost in the 'lull before the storm' where depth of dialogue cast some fantastic performances.

Another great naval hero I here you cry! Actor or not, Russell Crowe was born in New Zealand. Well here I think anyone would agree that this man deserves to be given the title of 'Honary Quintessential Englishman' such is the striking pose he sets and the grasp of the English language he puts across. Not only does this feature a wealth of fine performances from all involved, but cinematography is stunning in this movie that travels far, from the sunny climbs of Brazil, around the dangerous Cape Horn, through snow and ice and resolving the story once again in the heat of the Galapagos Islands. As I sit here to tell this story, memories are brought flooding back stronger than I at first saw and will no doubt enjoy this film again and again. Russell Crowe has certainly come a long way from Neighbours - Kenny Logan, remember that? Well I'd be inclined to say "no, me neither", but I have to admit that something is ringing bells. Not a great claim to fame, but if its good enough for Kylie and Guy Pearce, why not.

A film not for the squeamish. 9/10

For a sneak peak click here


Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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