Sunday, October 20, 2013

Captain Phillips Review

Captain Phillips Review
I recently read a book called "No Easy Day," which chronicles the preparation and mission which took the life of Osama Bin Laden, the book was written by a real Navy Seal who went on the mission to get the most wanted man in the world at the time. This particular Navy Seal also served in the rescue mission to retrieve Captain Richard Phillips from the custody of Somali pirates. The Captain Phillips story is merely touched upon in the book, but it gave me enough intrigue to want to learn more. When I heard that a "Captain Phillips" movie was to be released later this year, starring Tom Hanks, I was hooked. 

I'm glad to say the movie ended up being filled with piercing drama and incredible tension. Tom Hanks gives a flawless performance as Captain Phillips, whose cargo ship was crashed by Somalian pirates in 2009. The actors chosen to play the Somalis are extraordinary as well. What makes "Captain Phillips" so good to watch is that it isn't black and white. Not only does the audience humanize with Captain Phillips, but we also humanize with the Somalis. In "Captain Phillips," the villains aren't just cartoons who wear all black and twirl mustaches. We get a glimpse into the world of Somalian piracy, and it isn't what you'd expect. I give director Paul Greengrass credit for creating villains who seem like real humans and who are fleshed out just as much as our hero is.

Barkhad Abdi plays Muse the leader of the pirates. There is already faint Oscar talk for the actor and his role. If he sneaks into the Supporting Actor category next year, I hope he gets the win. Its so refreshing to see an underdog take the award, and he more than deserves the golden statue. Muse is a calm, collected, villain, but there are moments of sheer terror and even moments of dark humor. There is a scene in the middle of "Captain Phillips," when the pirates take over the ship. Muse tells Phillips to look into his eyes and accept that Muse is the new captain. That scene was ad-lib, not originally in the script. When you see Tom Hanks' lower lip tremble, that's not acting, its terror. Hanks was genuinely scared of this man, now that is true acting at its finest.

Paul Greengrass also directed "The Bourne Ultimatum," so you can expect miraculous tension which works well for the film. The only odd moment within the entire movie is the opening moments of the movie. When Phillips is being driven to the airport by his wife (Catherine Keener). I like both actors a lot, but the scene kind of came off like a deleted scene. It does nothing for the film as a whole and doesn't do much to flesh out the characters. We never hear from or see his wife again, so what's the point? Other than that, this movie was a great watch. You should definitely see this in theaters.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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