Sunday, 20 October 2013

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips Trailer

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Action
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Director:  Paul Greengrass
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
My Rating: 7/10
Runtime: 134mins

Synopsis: Captain Phillips is a story about an American cargo ship that gets hijacked by Somalian pirates off the coast of Somalia. The long and gruelling tale is a version of true events. 

Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, United 93) knows how to make nail-biting blockbusters and Captain Phillips is no exception. The film has a beautiful pace to it, quickly cutting between the payday hungry pirates and the ill-prepared American crew. We assume that the pirates will eventually board the huge vessel but it's how they will manage it that keeps us interested. The camera-work is largely handheld adding a sense of urgency to the film, however, mixed in are some amazing aerial shots of the shipping fleet which illuminate any sense of claustrophobia. For a film with a relatively simple plot, the story does drag a little, but I'd imagine Captain Phillips felt the same way when he was being held hostage!

An interesting case study would be to compare Captain Phillips to the similarly themed Danish film, A Hijacking (2012). Directed by Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt) and starring Pilou Asbaek and Soren Malling (Borgen), the film is a much more realistic account of how a hijacking would normally play out. A Hijacking focuses on the prolonged negotiations that take place between the pirates and the shipping company whereas Captain Phillips centres around the individual. Both films are high in tension and use local actors to play the Somalian pirates, but the drama contrasts significantly. I can think of no two better films to explain the difference between Hollywood and European cinema. 

For this reason I'd urge you to watch both of them; each film has their strengths and their weaknesses but personally, being against American populism, I much prefer the way the Danes tell the tale.

Irrespective of what actually went down on Captain Phillips' ship, the film is entertaining throughout and looks great on the big screen. I'd recommend it for a fun night out. 

by Gavin Fitzgerald

I suffer from severe anxiety and I am on anti-depressants, should I watch this film on a Sunday night? Sure it's Tom Hanks, why not?

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