Director Peter Weir's 2003 film 'Master and Commander' is so much more than just an action flick at sea. It's not just explosions and tall ships and wild seas. You won't see Johnny Depp drunkenly stumbling through his 'Disney dialogue' - no pirates, no "Argh, me hearties", no peg legs. 'Master and Commander' is aiming for realism. Of course there is action aplenty. Masts snapping, sails tearing, sailors dying, cannons blasting - it's all there but few films can be called masterpieces unless they explore more than just the base emotions of the human experience. Weir uses 'Master and Commander' to challenge our perspectives on how we balance two of humanities strongest drives, discovery and power. He uses the journeys of the man characters to illustrate aspects of those key ingredients.
When viewing a film that you intend to analyse, it's never a bad idea to watch it for enjoyment first. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be planning ahead though. Whenever the film does something that excites you, or something that bores you, maybe something that confuses you, anything out of the ordinary - write down a brief reference so that you can come back to it later. If you're fortunate enough to be watching under your own conditions, mark down the time code. It's often in the bottom left corner (like the example below):
Be aware of the key techniques before your first viewing. Some of them can be found here:
What other students found:
A second viewing allows you to get deeper into the details. Here's what other students have uncovered when watching this film...
How the body language and facial expressions of the characters demonstrate the journeys they experience.