Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) Review

Captain Jack Aubrey is in charge of the H.M.S Surprise and must track, capture or destroy a French armed ship Acheron during the Napoleonic Wars in 1805.


Master and Commander is a fully immersive and engaging escapism of a film into the depths of the sea. With that in mind it really does manage to have some truly breathtaking and visually stunning scenes. As cliche as that sounds but the cinematography is top level in this film, along with the score it just all mixes together in the best possible way.

I have to admit that I had never really thought about what life on a ship would really have been like away from the Pirates of the Caribbean films I don’t really think I have seen anything else on this level on screen before. This shows the hard work the crew must put in and the dangers of the sea and weather changes which can come very quickly. Then other ships of course in this one the sort of battle and chase between Surprise and Acheron, which really does manage to build tension in the best possible way.

The thing is though what else could be entertaining in a film like this? Well, quite frankly everything manages to be interesting as we have the doctor who is obsessed with finding new species of animals, the young boys learning their way on the ship and the possibility of being driven mad by life at sea. All of these things are shown and we move through them and quickly become fully engrossed in this world.

Even after hearing fantastic things about this film I still wasn’t fully sure if it was going to be for me or not. Therefore my enjoyment actually came as a pleasant surprise as well, something that is always a bonus when you watch a film. I mean this one was nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. It won for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing, I mean at the end of the day it was up against the truly outstanding Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. But I think that just then makes us realise how spoilt we were back in 2003.

Russell Crowe is engaging and brilliant in the leading role something that he seems to do so effortlessly which makes him a joy to watch. Really taking on the Captain role in spectacular manner, seems actually quite a trustworthy character. Then we get Paul Bettany as the doctor who was utterly fantastic, really adding more depth to the film with his characters wants and needs. Obviously being a big Lord of the Rings fan to have Billy Boyd in the film was great as well, didn’t he have an amazing 2003 as well! For a young acting performance I thought Max Pirkis was scene stealing, seriously such a great performance from the youngster!

Altogether a really well made film that does make you really think about what life on a ship really is like, the trials and tribulations of a sea Captain isn’t really worrying about all of the rum being gone is it!

3 thoughts on “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) Review

  1. It’s a magnificent film. I’ve read one of the two books it was based on, and as you might expect it’s even more packed with detail, but it never feels dry (probably just as well for a seafaring adventure!).


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