Quick Hit: Entertaining at its lows, but emotionally intense at its highpoints, despite a filming technique that detracts as much as it adds.
Captain Phillips is a movie starring Tom Hanks and unknown actor Barkhad Abdi. Though the story is about pirates hijacking a cargo ship, I think the story really revolves around these two actors and the roles they play. Tom Hanks stars as Captain Rich “Irish” Phillips. Abdi costars as Muse, a young pirate captain (also referred to as “Skinny” at times).
There’s really not much to the movie as far as the action. A lot of the action takes place when the pirates first hijack the ship, but none of it is tension filled enough to make you nervous. The movie really starts going when Hanks is given the keys to the castle (so to speak). The movie is named after his character, and it should, because without Hanks there would be no movie.
It allows his facial expressions and bodily movements to shine through, and it makes for some really intense moments. My favorite scene in this film is probably the last one, which Hanks plays to perfection. Not many actors could portray that much intensity in so few words, but Hanks had me at the point of tears.
Abdi is also good here. He has a complicated role to play and he played it well. Muse is more than just a ruthless pirate. He is a poor man who is just doing what he must to survive in Somalia. He has bosses that he has to answer to if he doesn’t succeed, and a crew of men that don’t always want to listen to him. There are so many parallels between the characters – both men are respected but not loved by their respective crews. Both are just men trying to accomplish the goals of their voyage, and both want nothing more than to succeed.
shows a talent for knowing when to approach the characters faces and when to zoom out to create a dimension of space. However, this would also be my main detraction from the movie. It’s really hard to stay focused at times when the screen is shaking so much if the film isn’t in a “mockumentary” or “shaky cam” style. I think the film would have been better had they used a good mix of the techniques.
As I usually do, I am going to give high marks overall for a movie that was carried by its actors. If anybody thinks of a way I can meet Tom Hanks, let me know. He continues to inspire me as a writer, as well as someone that enjoys acting. Thanks everybody!
I give Captain Phillips a “B+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"