I know a lot of people don’t particularly like Russel Crowe—what with him being a loud mouth womanizer and all—but you have to admit he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes when chosing roles and always does a good job of them. Master and Commander is one of those good choices and performances.
I thought the movie was surprisingly well balanced, a few well made fights, some social interactions on the boat, some bits of scientific research (the British did find and document a lot of things while warring and conquering), overall I think it gave a very good feel for what life and death on those boats was like. I was especially impressed of course with the big battles, hints of Private Ryan and Gladiator in the look and rythm of those fights.
For me the high point of the movie though was Paul Bettany who plays the doctor. Both for the dr. himself who is one of the most human on the boat, perhaps the most fleshed out character and for the way Bettany plays him. Although I guess one can’t go without the other.
In every movie I’ve seen him I’ve loved the characters he created. Gangster No. 1, A Knights Tale and A Beautiful Mind were all better because of him so I was wondering when he’d get to star and looking at his upcoming projects it seems he has top billing in both. Good. Very talented.