starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany
written by Peter Weir and John Collee
directed by Peter Weir
Based on the novel by Patrick O’Brien. I first watched this on an airplane in August 2003, but I enjoyed it more when I saw it on video in the comfort of home. My appreciation of Russell Crowe as an actor has grown tremendously with films like Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind. His performance here as an early 19th century Royal Navy captain chasing a larger, more powerful French warship around Cape Horn and into the Pacific Ocean I great. The portrayal of how an old British naval ship functions is interesting. The setting and action are primed for old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure, and I was not disappointed. Young boys and old men; men ‘pressed’ into naval service; corporal punishment; the closeness and the stink of life on a wooden ship; damage and repairs; ports of call along the way; navigation by sun and stars; line-of-site battle tactics; the noise of canon fire. Jolly good.
This is an all guy film. No women. Every night the ship’s captain settles down with the doctor for an after-dinner string duet. Interesting men of many talents: warriors, musicians, artists and naturalists, philosophers, engineers. The standards and measure of a Napoleonic-era British gentleman are a bit different from what they are today, I suppose.