Captain Phillips

2013-11-15 09:56
 
Captain Phillips
What it's about:

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking, by Somali pirates, of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years.

What we thought:

Captain Philips has been getting praise left right and center in Hollywood and at film festivals, putting Tom Hanks on a pedestal he hasn’t been on for a while. Although this is one of his finest movies, we should not forget the talent of his supporting cast – the Somali actors.

This is one of the first movies I’ve seen based on true events that really felt like it was what really happened. With Somali pirates being one of the biggest threats in the 21st century, the story of the real Captain Philips did not fall victim to the over-dramatic Hollywood treatment, but it also didn’t take away from the horrific experience that the captain and his shipmates endured.

The movie does have a bit of an odd beginning and feels very slow, but once the action starts you get so sucked in that you easily feel the anxiety  the captain is experiencing . From the moment the pirates board the ship until the last scene, there isn’t one moment that isn’t filled with excitement or emotional intensity.

Also, Hanks at first appears a little wooden, but that is part of how good an actor he is. It’s easy to believe that the real captain was also as calm and collected, with his panic and stress just visible underneath the surface, and Hanks does this perfectly, with an amazing performance at the end. You are going to need a whole tissue box and someone’s hand for this part.

Not to take away from Hanks, but one of the best performances come from the Somali actors, especially the head pirate Muse, played by Barkhad Abdi. For an unknown actor that the casting company found through open auditions, he is absolutely stunning in his talent. What is great about Captain Philips is that it shows the desperation of the pirates, the competition to kidnap more boats and who really gets the money from the ransoms.

Abdi pushes this home for the audience,  making him as important in Captain Philips' success as Hanks. His  fellow pirate actors, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali were also incredible in that each had very differing personalities and on how they deal with the situation, marking the pirates more as individuals than just a horde of bandits.

It is sad that international media has kind of pushed them to the side and has put the spotlight mainly on Hanks, but I do hope the Academy will give a Supporting Actor nod to Abdi, who definitely deserves it. A definite highlight is  the way he responds to Philips’ question about whether there’s  a better way to make a living than piracy:  “Maybe in America.”

A thought-provoking movie not suitable for a date night, Captain Philips is an emotional rollercoaster that will maybe make you think twice when reading another news report about Somali pirates.

You only realise how good Captain Philips is at the end of the movie.
Read more on:    tom hanks  |  captain phillips  |  movies

alex 2013/11/18 10:36 PM
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brillant movie ,think its the best this year
Zulusailor 2013/11/19 9:29 AM
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Stunning!! As a South African ship's captain frequently trading in the Gulf of Aden Area, I can vouch for the authenticity of the marine and piracy scenes. In many respects they are terrifyingly lifelike. Of course, being filmed on a ship and not in a studio makes a massive difference to reality. For more intuitive background to this sad part of the world and the life of pirates and those sailing in the area, check out Amazon Books/Kobo/B&N/iTunes Books and Kalahari - 'The Megiddo Revenge'. http://amzn.com/B00F4NP1KW
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