Roger Donaldson directs Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and Phil Davis in this historical adventure retelling the sea-faring expedition to Tahiti in 1787 that ended in rebellion.
This was scripted and planned to be David Lean’s last project before he died. Donaldson manages to get the sweep and scope correct but the psychology and engagement is just a little too off. The suggestion here is Bligh went a little mad when his men went fuck happy with the natives on the island. Partly out of shaken strict Christian morality, partly out of unspoken homosexual desire for Mel’s tops-off Fletcher Christian. Hopkins does a good job keeping the jealousy and mania just bubbling and rattling the lid, it never over spills. He does risk ham a fair few times though. It isn’t his best work. Then the last act loses its grip on the audience. There should be a good hook in a finale where the mutineers need to find a safe haven before the castaways find civilisation. A race against the clock and the tides. It just never gels. Shame, as if Donaldson engineered this final element to thrill he’d have had a great film on his hands.
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