Cert:12A Runtime: 134 mins Director: Paul Greengrass Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahma and Catherine Keener
You said you were a business man! Is this how you do business?
Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is – through director Paul Greengrass’s distinctive lens – simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.This is arguably Paul Greengrass’ best movie to date. As with all of his movies, you need to get ready to be up close and personal. Greengrass loves having the camera right up in people’s faces but it puts you right into the middle of the action and increases the intensity that this movie brings. And let me tell you, it is intense. It’s not long before the drama starts to unfold and you get the feeling of “uh oh”. Greengrass perhaps took some liberties with some things, but the way he tells this story is incredible and extremely effective.This is Tom Hanks best performance in a decade. He’s absolutely incredible as Captain Phillips. He has the accent down, all the mannerisms and brings an emotional depth I haven’t seen from him in awhile. The scene he has at the end is a reminder why he’s an Oscar winner and a beloved actor.
While the story from the military side is incredible, this is the Tom Hanks show and he brings it on screen. As for Barkhad Abdi, a first-time actor, let’s just say if he is nominated for supporting roles, I won’t be surprised. For never acting before, him and his Somali friends are amazing and steal the show in their own right. They have a lot of screen time, some back story, and even put them in a light where you may like them on some level. And it’s not just the character writing. The performances make these characters a little likeable, a little hateable and bring them to life. There is depth to these performances and for actors who’ve never done this before, they are almost flawless. When you combine that with Tom Hanks, get ready for an amazing boat ride thriller. The score here was done by Henry Jackman. Need I say more? He’s always reliable and is incredible with anything he puts his hands too and he doesn’t disappoint here. While not the most memorable of scores by Jackman, it brings an amazing intensity that the movie needed and has some great musical elements. I love Jackman’s use of drums in the action elements to really bring it when needed. There’s some African vibes to some tracks and it’s the type of score that is perfect for this movie. Captain Phillips is one of the most amazing films of the year so far and is driven by incredible performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The story, while maybe not 100% accurate, is still amazing, intense and one that you’ll love to see. It’s like this story played out in a way that was meant to be a movie script.