To defend the realm from Napoleon's growing forces, Captain Jack Aubrey (Russel Crowe) leads his modest vessel the HMS Surprise on patrol of the high seas while often consulting with his trusted friend, the ship's physician and naturalist (Paul Bettany). After catching a rogue and superior French craft on their trail, the brazen but principled commander decides to change course and take the enemy head on. Condensed from a series of Patrick O'Brian novel's, Peter Weir's Master and Commander is a rousing naval saga, brilliantly directed, plotted, and with painterly cinematography, that still maintains a touching, beautiful human sentiment. Crowe, in a career performance that was unfortunately overlooked, leads an impressive cast with Bettany as a Darwin inspired doctor, quite brilliant as well.
**** out of ****