Epic high seas adventure ends NWTC program

November 21, 2014

The NWTC Film Club has a tradition of saving the best for last, and our November screening is an absolute ripper. Only the members-only Christmas Party ‘Presidents Choice’ surprise film remains in early December.

The club has chosen the rollicking naval epic Master and Commander – The Far Side of the World” for November, and it screens this Sunday at the Roxy at 4pm. Films are usually on the last Sunday of each month, but this month’s has been moved forward a week to make room for the Amber Lawrence concert, which is a huge event for Bingara, on the following Sunday, 30th November.

Master and Commander was released in 2003, and was adapted from Patrick O’Brian’s series of novels dealing with ‘Lucky’ Jack Aubrey’s naval career. The film has major Australian involvement, being directed by master Director Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe who, although born in the shaky isles, is now considered to be “one of ours”. You can’t really get more ‘aussie’ than owning the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The film is set in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars. Captain “Lucky Jack” Aubrey of HMS Surprise has orders to pursue the French privateer Acheron, and “sink, burn or take her as a prize”. It sounds easy if you say it quickly, but, unfortunately, Acheron is twice the size of Surprise, faster, more heavily armed and with an innovative reinforced hull. So it is a case of “ be careful what you wish for – you might get it!”

The movie is based on this classic pursuit, some skirmishes along the way, and the eventual decisive battle.

It’s hard to visualize anyone other than Russell Crowe playing Aubrey. Much of the film’s central theme revolves around his special friendship with the ship’s surgeon Maturin, played by Paul Bettany.

Bettany proves a perfect foil for Crowe and no wonder – he is a very accomplished actor in his own right, starring in 3 films to have grossed over a billion dollars at the box office – The Da Vinci Code, The Avengers and Iron Man 3. He also shared top billing with Crowe in that classic film A Beautiful Mind.

Russell Crowe himself has enjoyed an illustrious career, including three consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. Robbed blind for not winning an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, the Academy awarded him the major prize a year later, out of shame, for “Gladiator”.

Other hits for Crowe include Romper Stomper, L.A.Confidential, Cinderella Man, The Insider (another Oscar nomination), Les Miserables and Noah.

Master and Commander itself was a worldwide hit, taking well over two hundred million in box office receipts.

It is one of the few motion picture to have snared TEN Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing. In each of the films other 8 nominations, it lost to Lord of the Rings-Return of the King.

Master and Commander can be summed up in one word – authentic.

Peter Weir’s attention to detail is well known and the sights, sound and sequences on a small man-of–war are expertly portrayed.  You can almost smell shipboard life. The battle scenes are exceptional, and really spectacular.

Another Australian connection is the terrific score, with music composed and performed by Ivor Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti.

Master and Commander is one right out of the ‘Boys Own Annual’. It is rated M15+ for medium level violence and low level coarse language, and runs for 132 minutes.

What better way to finish the year than to take out membership of the club. For only $6 you get to see Sundays film and also the members-only Christmas screening on Sunday, December 7.

The NWTC will soon be releasing the 2015 subscription program for next year – this will be announced on December 7.

The NWTC Film Club would like to take this opportunity to thank all our 36 members for their support, Nancy Capel of the Bingara Advocate for her help throughout the year, and the various projectionists – Carmen, Georgia, Rick, Robyn and particularly our regular set-up, sound and projectionist expert Martin Hansford.

See you at the movies!