Out here survival is everything; a review of Captain Phillips (2013)

captain-phillips-poster-2

Yeah, I know, it came out back in October and I just saw it now. Pipe it, the Oscars are coming and I make it a goal every year to watch every best picture nominee. Be on the lookout for reviews of Nebraska (2013) and Philomena (2013) this week, as well.

Captain Phillips (2013) is about a hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates back in 2009. It is the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Tom Hanks plays the titular Captain Phillips and Barkhad Abdi makes his debut on the big screen as Muse, the head of the Somali pirates. The film is directed by Paul Greengrass, director of two out of the four Bourne movies, and United 93 (2006).

The reason I didn’t see this movie in theaters is because I really didn’t have a desire to see it. I thought it was going to be an anticlimactic Hollywood blockbuster that happened to star everyone and their grandmother’s favorite actor, Tom Hanks. I have to say, my expectations were exceeded. The film is actually very exciting at times. There is one scene in particular, where one of Captain Phillips’ crew members has a gun to his head and Phillips is trying to talk the pirate out of shooting him and I was actually itching to see the outcome. It could have really gone either way. The movie does reach a loll towards the second act, in my opinion; but the climax makes it worthwhile. In fact, I’d say the climax may be one of the most exciting things to happen in cinema for the year 2013.

Hanks, per usual, gives a great performance as Captain Phillips. He very accurately portrays a captain trying to not only defend himself, but his crew members who are like family to him. You feel for him throughout the movie and are just aching at the thought that he may not make it out of this alive. Abdi has been nominated for best supporting actor in this movie; and I’m sorry if this sounds mean but I really don’t think he’s a real contender for the award. Yes, he had did a fine job in this movie and it was a good debut for the actor. However I can’t help but feel actors like Jonah Hill, Michael Fassbender, and Jared Leto are more deserving of the award. Supporting Actor is probably the most competitive award this year in the Oscars, and unfortunately Barkhad Abdi is not going to make the cut.

Tom Hanks

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the way the movie was shot. There is a lot of shaky camera work and I found it to be quite disorienting at times and difficult to keep up with what was going on. I’m sure there are some people out there that will tell you, “Oh, it was supposed to be like that because you’re supposed to be disoriented like Tom Hanks is, it’s like you’re in the movie!” Yes, it’s okay to think that way; but for me personally, I wasn’t fond of it. I would have preferred some more steady and in focus shots.

Captain Phillips was an exciting film to watch and certainly falls under the category of “Pro-America” films meant to show viewers that America is and always will be the greatest, and we can get ourselves out of any jam. Is it going to win best picture? Doubtful. It was just oscar bate because of the whole America thing and the fact that Tom Hanks is in it. It’s a good story about the “Hero’s journey” and certainly worth watching for a good suspense.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

It’s got some action, a lot of suspense, great acting from Tom Hanks and a good debut from Barkhad Abdi. The action isn’t very abundant; but the dialogue certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat. Definitely worth a watch but not a serious contender for best picture at the Oscars.

-Reed

IMAGES: http://reggiestake.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/captain-phillips-poster-2.jpg, http://www.bleedingcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DF-04299.jpg

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