Cautions: violence, intensity and some gore, language, brief drunkenness, a theistic evolution remark, brief mild immodesty and sensuality, and some ethical confusion
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World will take you halfway around the globe in stop-at-nothing pursuit of the mysterious French privateer that could give Napoleon control of the entire Pacific ocean. When the Acheron slips past British naval lines, a single frigate is sent to capture or destroy her—outgunned and outclassed, but captained by a relentless conqueror whose military genius is unrivaled… except by the captain of the Acheron.
2003 | Peter Weir | 138 min Watch Trailer
Violence, Intensity and Some Gore
Fast-paced battle sequences involve men and boys being shot, run through, and blown into the air. The body count is high. Gruesome imagery is not lingered upon, but there is quite a bit of blood. A boy is shown dead, with his eyes open.
Surgeries are performed, including the amputation of a young boy’s arm. Almost everything happens just out of sight, and the sounds are not especially grisly. These scenes are more emotionally than visually intense. A man is also briefly seen dissecting a fish.
Emotionally intense scenes also include a man going overboard and being lost at sea, the sewing up of the slain in their hammocks, a funeral, and a flogging. A scene of suicide by drowning is emotionally disturbing.
For G-d’s sake
For G-d’s sake
Loud and unsteady behavior is seen among the officers in one scene, implied to be the result of their celebratory drinking. This is presented neither positively nor negatively.
A Theistic Evolution Remark
One of the main characters, who is not necessarily portrayed as wise and accurate in every respect, teaches one of the boys that certain insects have disguised themselves in order to survive. When the boy asks, “Did God make them change?” he replies, “Does God make them change? Yes, certainly. But do they also change themselves? Now that is a question, isn’t it?” This sets up a false dilemma between acts of God in creation, and the acts of creation itself. The evolutionary aspect of the conversation is not made much of, however.
Brief Mild Immodesty and Sensuality
In a very brief scene, South Americans come alongside the ship, and while official trade is going on, some sailors try to barter with the women for kisses. A sailor is, off screen, instructed to “put that woman down” and reminded that the ship is not a floating bordello. A man whose marriage was separately referenced kisses his hand to one of the native girls. In another scene, two sailors express disappointment at not finding women on the Galapagos. None of these characters are positively portrayed in these scenarios.
Some of the South American men are very briefly seen in their canoes, wearing only loincloths. Sailors are shown without shirts in a non-sensual manner. One man is very briefly seen with only a long shirt on.
Some Ethical Confusion
Main character Jack exceeds his orders, claiming that duty required it. This is portrayed as a complex situation, and he is not necessarily portrayed as being entirely in the right.
One of the main characters, not portrayed as correct, is an anarchist by philosophy. He states heatedly that he is “opposed to authority” which brings “misery and oppression.” He occasionally makes isolated comments about authority corrupting—a point of contention between him and Jack.
Jack repeats the traditional British navy toast, “To wives and sweethearts… May they never meet.” Some of the men laugh, but nothing else is made of this.
Jack is briefly shown engaged in internal struggle against his attraction to a woman, and apparently overcomes.
The “weather gods” are referenced once, not in a serious way.
Jack tells the young midshipmen to turn around three times and say, “My the Lord and saints preserve us!” before rounding Cape Horn. This is performed, but not taken seriously.
A couple of sailors are briefly seen vomiting during a storm.1 Also, the occasional rolling back and forth of the camera to simulate the roll of a ship may make motion-sensitive viewers uncomfortable.
A prayer asks forgiveness of the Lord, and also asks forgiveness of a man who had died.
A subplot involves intensely superstitious ideas among the crew. This is negatively portrayed. The captain’s nickname is “Lucky Jack”.
Jack instructs a failing officer to find the leadership and strength “within yourself.” This seems to point to personal responsibility, rather than indicate the source of moral strength.
Boys are seen with wine glasses in their hands at dinner, although they are not involved in the apparent drunkenness. Extra rations of rum are given as rewards.
Cigars and pipes appear throughout.
1 This takes place between 49:25 and 49:35, approximately.