I am not sure if I have ever seen a film as inconsequential as Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World. I have certainly never seen a film as inconsequential with such a long title. At the start of the film we are told that it is some time during the Napoleonic Wars and HMS Surprise is off to catch a French frigate the Acheron. Two and a quarter hours later, it catches it. Is this the turning point of the Napoleonic wars? Have the British finally outsmarted old Bonie? Have the crew of the Surpirse made a tactical discovery? Nope. It is a slow limp back to Portsmouth and the next adventure.

Except there probably won’t be a next adventure as the film did not exactly burn up the box office. And anyway, the next adventure would be a lot like this one. Pretty much everything you can do in a naval film. And it is very impressive. The film conjures up a scabs and all picture of the naval life in 1805 and does so by putting in all sorts of exciting sequences. Lucky Jack is a character that Russell Crowe can play in his sleep, stern yet occasionally troubled. Paul Bettany’s ships doctor is equally as important though, the shade to Crowe’s bluff exterior. It is a rather enjoyable piece of hokum all things be told. Which is probably what Peter Weir thought when he decided to plump on the tenth of Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander books to adapt.

But goodness me is it a boys film. There isn’t a single female speaking role, and the only women which are in it are pretty much bringing in the shopping. This is a film about men relating, men’s wars and men getting pissed together (the slaughtered on grog scenes are priceless). So only go see it if you can stand seeing men pretending to be brave, boyish and bold. Derring do, or derring don’t.