January 6, 2004

Can I Play Master Tonight?

m&cboyDespite our documented skittishness around the publicity juggernaut promoting Master and Commander back at its release in November, Cinecultist and Ilana decided to catch a screening of it anyhow on Saturday a few weeks post-hype. M & C is the kind of movie that invariably ends up being nominated for various awards but that CC hasn't got around to seeing, and thus cannot bash with the abandon we'd like. Not that this stops us, per se, we just don't feel good about it. But after seeing the film we can say, lo and behold, shiver our timbers, swab Davie Jones's locker and other faux-nautical exclamations, Cinecultist really liked this movie. We're not motifying the top 10 or nothing, but if Russell Crowe makes good on his buzz, or better yet we see some kudos for director Peter Weir or the delectable Paul Bettany, CC won't be sad.

Somehow, CC has turned into the kind of movie-goer who comments on battle scenes, and the ones in M & C are particularly beautiful to look at and horrific to contemplate. Hanging around exploding cannons, not really such a hot idea. Also, some of the apparently very realistic looking 19th century doctoring scenes made CC pull our turtleneck over our face but as we've said, we're squimish. A lesser director than Weir might have allowed the insider details and sea battle trivia drag down the story's pace, but the movie clips along with a compelling intensity. Though if anyone has some translation of what happens exactly in the last 10 minutes, please send them along. CC did get a bit bogged down in the vocab.

Despite all this and the stellar performances by Crowe and Bettany, teaming up for a second time now in a very fruitful way, as well as the rest of the prodominantly male cast, do the filmmakers really expect us to believe life on a ship with a bunch of men for that long was so very straight? "I slept next to him in a hammock for two years, but we're just good friends." Does this statement sound as fishy to you as it does to CC? Nary a longing look, and some of those fellas are quite pretty in their royal blue.

Posted by karen at January 6, 2004 8:12 AM