Master and Commander: Far side of the world (2003)

catalog

Well-known member
Come on, let's do it.

I saw this again on Saturday night /Sunday morning. We caned the rest of the bottle of mush juice, but was more of a long laughing trip than anything like the time before on my own.

I mean, it's obviously no great epic-encyclopedic piece of art like Ulysses or Functions on the low, but it's nonetheless got enough inside it you can hang a few things on.

And you can also examine your own prejudices. The emascualtion of the modern male etc. Do we yearn for this sort of life?

It beats Game of Thrones cos it's real. And the general attention to detail in terms of the filmmaking is very impressive. It feels well researched.

I like the twin obsessions of Jack and the Doctor, Conquest and natural history.

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They are riding together, through the (psychedelic, subconsious) sea.

With casualties. Pulling against one another. They need one another (reminiscent of that line about anthropology as the handmaiden of colonialism).

Twin balls circling around us, self and ego, to bring in what looks like a central theme from Woebot's book.

Obviously the management/leadership angle.

The bants, the lesser of two weevils, those call and response singing parts.

And the violins.

Music as dialogue, that way of putting a person into a traditional shanty


And the guy who gets brain surgery and then gets the book of Jonah stuck in his head, can't say anything else. And that mythical power playing out. Thed wind picking up once their own Jonah is overboard.

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version

Well-known member
I may be misremembering it, but I liked that you didn't see much of the French. They're the antagonists, but they aren't the major source of conflict and just lurk in the background, almost faceless.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Yes, very important.

The phantom.

A lot of great filmmaking relies upon the audience being able to project their fear onto the antagonist. Jaws, Alien, lots of other stuff.

Villains almost always are more fun than goodies so if yoh show em, it can go hammy.
 

suspended

Well-known member
Great write-up. Lots of bits to chew on. I like the "enough you can hang on it" line. I agree, everything you say is in there is in there. The dilemmas are real—should the jr. officer kill himself? He is, in fact, pathetic—not much hope. A lesser film would try to redeem his sensitivity—Peter Weir doesn't flinch.
 

suspended

Well-known member
A lot of great filmmaking relies upon the audience being able to project their fear onto the antagonist. Jaws, Alien, lots of other stuff.
See also the scapegoat narrative with said jr. officer—what's his face?—very Girardian.
 

version

Well-known member
My dad loves both the film and the books. He's big into anything with that sort of camaraderie, stuff like Generation Kill and the steak and eggs scene in Twister.

 

catalog

Well-known member
See also the scapegoat narrative with said jr. officer—what's his face?—very Girardian.

Yeah, Mr Holland is it? Key bit that I saw this time, but missed the first, is that Jack sees it in him, sees the jonah, knows it. He gives him the talking to, says the men need to see strength in him, Hollum repeats it back, misses the point.

Jack says to the doc, there's many things a seaman can abide, but not a jonah.

That irrational idea creeps in, in an otherwise scientific environment, the trust to fortuna that's going on in these guys lives.

"I can't make the wind, only harness it".

And yes, it's a sad death but it also births the smooth passage to the end. It's very good, trad 'arc' storytelling structure, they're at a moment of no return, they've gone all in. The death renews them.

Weir at this point a very experienced filmmaker, knows his shit on story.
 

catalog

Well-known member
My dad loves both the film and the books. He's big into anything with that sort of camaraderie, stuff like Generation Kill and the steak and eggs scene in Twister.


Maybe generation kill would be a good watch for me. Love the wire, but his other stuff I've seen (Treme, The Deuce) can be a bit pondering/turgid.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I watched one of Weir's early films the other night, when he was still Australian. The last wave. Got this intriguing mystical aborigine element, but it's not a satisfying payoff, plus the lead actor is no Crowe.
 

catalog

Well-known member
is this film the very definition of middlebrow?

 

catalog

Well-known member
That's true. It's because middlebrow stuff has pretensions of being highbrow. Lowbrow stuff knows what it is.

I felt Joker was a middlebrow film, e.g. although I didn't judge it in those terms exactly.

M&C definitely got more to it than Joker I would say.
 

catalog

Well-known member
Yeah, I haven't even seen it and view it that way. I'd say people like Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coens are very middle brow too.

Yeah this is on the level of a decent PTA like There will be blood of the Master.

Dunno about the Coens really, I've not enjoyed one of their films for years, but I love eg blood simple, Barton fink, miller's crossing, the big lebowski, fargo. But they are different types of filmmakers to me, playing with genre conventions more than doing straight up dramas like Peter Weir or PTA?

But a key difference between PTA and Weir, at least on this film, is the happy ending element.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I may be misremembering it, but I liked that you didn't see much of the French. They're the antagonists, but they aren't the major source of conflict and just lurk in the background, almost faceless.
Exactly what I said. Reminded me of the truck in Duel.
 
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