In the Dark

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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox 
Directed by Peter Weir
Screenplay by Peter Weir and John Collee from Patrick O’Brian’s novels

The Last Samurai
Produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and Cruise-Wagner Productions
Directed by Edward Zwick
Screenplay by John Logan

Magisterial sea yarner Patrick O’Brian comes to the screen in Peter Weir’s new film, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  This is the tale of an early-19-century English frigate’s mad chase after an enemy ship sailing from Brazil to the Galapagos Islands by way of Cape Horn.  In visualizing this adventure, Weir has given us a gorgeous lesson in his medium’s resources, filling the screen with vast on-location vistas, faithfully reproducing daily shipboard life in all its particulars, and staging utterly convincing battle scenes.  Not that you are aware of this as you watch the movie.  It is essential to Weir’s art that his efforts remain hidden.  Even when he deploys special effects, including computer-generated typhoons, the technical legerdemain is quite unnoticeable.  Everything has been designed to pull you into the world of 1805 on a 28-gun warship plying its bloody trade on seas that “have become battlefields,”...

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