Review of “Captain Phillips” by Brian Woodworth
I have just realized the best part about watching the movie Captain Phillips was that I followed the news about the USS ALABAMA back in 2009, but I never knew exactly what happened. I know they saved the ship and the Captain, but I didn’t know how.
And that is why this is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It’s not because Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) is rescued in the end (spoiler, but not really because that was in the news). The pure greatness in this film is in the journey we’re taken on to save Captain Phillips and that’s where I won’t spoil it for you.
I was captivated by not only the story of the crew who risked their lives to make a shipment to a third world country, but by the Somalian Pirates who are humanized, even though they commit these terrible crimes.
There are so many ways this film could have taken shortcuts, but they dug deep into every backstory to allow the audience feel like they were living the film.
One way the filmmakers could have cut corners was to make the Somalian Pirates who hijack the ships just villains, and nothing more. Instead, they bring you to their village where they show you the conditions they live in and how the Pirates are forced to commit these crimes just to survive. It’s not just a matter of greed for the Pirates…it’s a will to survive.
I don’t condone the behavior of the Somalian Pirates, but I empathize with them because poverty is their life. The filmmakers put this element in the film because they wanted to tell their story too. I heard it loud and clear.
The filmmakers could have just had the Navy Seal team that saves Captain Phillips swoop in and save the day out of nowhere without any context as to who the Seals are, however, the film takes the time to properly introduce and establish the Seal team. Excellent!
Tom Hanks is absolutely captivating in his performance. I’ll just say he had me in tears at the end of the movie, he was so brilliant. Expect an Oscar nod for this film! If not, I will personally protest the Oscars.
The Somalian Pirates, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi), were also a phenomenal group of actors. The hair stood up on the back of my neck anytime they were on the screen. They held a very eerie aura about them by talking very calmly in a high pressure situation. Instead of being exuberantly violent, they were alarmingly calm and in control when taking over the ship.
This movie was Somalian-American actor Barkhad Abdi’s first feature film credit. Abdi went through intensive training for the role-from learning how to swim, to balancing on a skiff in rough water. Doing such a great job on a film with a scale this size for your first film is not done everyday.
Should you go see it? Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a film that is unyielding in value. Bring tissues!
Rating: 3.75/4 Stars
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