Warning: spoilers. Just see the movie before you read this, I promise it's worth the money. This movie is awesome. I don't dare to say, totally sweet. Nine out of ten thumbs up. The movie opens with an intense battle between two warships off the coast of early 19th century Brazil I believe, and the fight is just nuts. The plot is written around the pursuit of either ship by the other, by the rivalry between the English captain and the French one (which we only see once, briefly). The theme behind it seems to revolve around which captain can best the other through his own unique cunning, regardless of the Napoleonic War, of orders, or of their crew's moral. But throughout the story there are many intriguing subplots, the life of a young, one armed boy onboard, the struggle an officer has with garnering respect from his crew, a doctor and his quest to bring back new, unseen, unheard of specimens from the Galapagos (it isn't called "Far Side of the World" for nothing), a lobotomized crewmember only quoting the Bible, even a brief reference to Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. In a way the subplots are almost like Pulp Fiction, but seamlessly ordered chronologically. I just loved this movie. The acting was wonderful--I really got a sense from Crowe that he was a crazy, lucky captain who was divided between caring for his crewmates and for his own masculinity (the dilemna is decided when in favor of the latter when a man is swept overboard). Whoever played the blond kid was awesome, completely believable as his part of being a kid where an adult should be in his place. When Crowe allowed him to take command of the ship at the end I saw the glee in the boy's eyes. The doctor is cynical but not heavily cynical, he's hard to explain, the actor and the writer gave him a great deal of depth almost unheard of in many movies at all, in my opinion. That's just to mention a few of the, as I said before, wonderful performances. SPOILER WARNING: IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE MOVIE, DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING, I WILL KILL YOU AND THE MOVIE WILL LOSE A GREAT DEAL OF ITS MAGIC. The very end is the best part. After an awesome battle I thought that the story was over, that everything was resolved, that it was time to head back to port, get some medals and then await the next assignment. But then, I realized that the French captain had not died, as we had thought, that he was still alive back on the Acheron, probably getting his shit back together to retake the ship. Russel Crowe was visibly irked and frustrated as he ordered a crewmember to escort the Acheron into port, and the final shot is one seen several times in the movie, of one ship chasing the other. Then the screen went blank, and a violin or two or three went nuts on a cool song. For me, the movie was all about cunning, about who really beat who how, and I loved how both captains kept getting bested by the other over and over again, so much so that the film seemed like it became worn out by the story continuing at all, even though there was obviously more to it. Ahhh, such an awesome movie. I'm going to buy it when it comes out on dvd and I'm also going to buy the soundtrack. I'm such a nerd, but at least I'm not in denial. As a final note, I knew that this would be a good movie, because of the two recent movies I've seen with Russel Crowe in them, Gladiator and the one about the mathemetician, I found that I loved them both, found that they were excellent pieces of cinema, even if I can't remember one of their names. Comparatively, Master and Commander is my favorite.