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Peter Malone是 SIGNIS主 席 , 有 31 年 影 評 的 經 驗 , 並 出 任 16 個 國 際 影 展 如 柏 林 影 展 、 威 尼 斯 影 展 的 評 判 , 可 以 堪 稱 為 「 電 影 百 科 全 書 」 !


Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World

by Peter Malone,06-Feb-2004

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Russell Crowe, Billy Boyd, Paul Bettany
Duration: 138 minutes

It comes as something of a surprise to hear that Peter Weir has made a historical naval epic. Yet, in the thirty years since his first full-length feature, The Cars that Ate Paris, Weir has brought his intelligent and refined sensibility to a wide range of generes, in recent years often taking four or five years between films. The Cars that Ate Paris was a small-scale comic horror story. He followed it with Picnic at Hanging Rock and then his imagining of aboriginal myths in Sydney, The Last Wave. He has portrayed war in his masterpiece, Gallipoli, Asian political thriller in The Year of Living Dangerously, murder mystery among the Amish in Witness, the retreat from civilisation in Mosquito Coast, creativity in education in Dead Poets Society. He made only three films during the 1990s: Green Card, Fearless and The Truman Show.

Master and Commander is quite epic in scope, based on the seafaring books by Patrick O'Brien. The central character is a fearless, just, even noble captain, Jack Aubrey. Russell Crowe brings his best dignity to the role, as impressive as his performance as Gladiator. He is not perfect, becomes obsessed with his pursuit of a French ship through the Atlantic, round Cape Horn and into the Pacific as far as the Galapagos Islands, but tries to admit and rectify mistakes. The setting is 1805, the aftermath of Nelson's victories with the British navy's goal of preventing a Napoleonic invasion of England. Weir stages the battles at sea with vigour.

What is important for the film is its detailed picture of day by day life on board ship, the camaraderie, rivalry (and superstition) amongst the crew, the bonds between the officers (and the young nobility who do their apprenticeship at sea). It is tough but not as soul-destroying as is sometimes presented in more melodramatic stories. We feel that we have been to sea here and understood what was required of the seamen.

The other principal character, played by Paul Bettany, is the ship's doctor, a naturalist with an avid ambition to record species of plants, birds and animals. The Galapagos islands are a paradise for him (and the film was shot there) but he has to face the realities of Britain being at war and his principal duty being to serve and obey the captain. Captain and doctor are good friends, can speak honestly to each other - and relax by playing chamber music together.

An impressive and interesting film.




當我知道彼德威爾執導了一齣有關海軍的史詩式電影,實在有點驚訝。彼德威爾從首齣長篇劇情片〈The Cars that Ate Paris〉,在執導的三十年裡,他將聰敏及精銳的感覺傾注到不同種類的電影去,近年每隔四至五年才推出新的作品。〈The Cars that Ate Paris〉是一齣低成本的漫畫式恐怖片,其後作品包括〈 Picnic at Hanging Rock〉;描寫悉尼土著神話、充滿想像的〈The Last Wave〉。還有講述戰爭的出色作品〈烈火屠城〉;亞洲的政治驚慄片〈災難歲月〉;有關阿曼派的謀殺懸疑片〈滅口大追殺〉;退隱文明的〈文明之旅〉及充滿教育創意的〈暴雨驕陽〉。彼德威爾在九十年代只執導了三部電影:〈綠咭情緣〉、〈Fearless〉及〈真人Show〉。






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