CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: THE REVIEW

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS was always a conundrum for me. Firstly, director Paul Greengrass, I LOVE THE GUY, his work is exceptional and technically superb. Then there was the fact it was a film on water, anything filmed on or near the water and I am in – I just LOVE it for some reason – hit me up with some underwater sub action any day. BUT – it is starring Tom Hanks – have not been a fan ever since he did CASTAWAY, I loathed the film, water and all, I really wanted Wilson to kill him one morning. And it was at the time of CASTAWAY I realised the world had been saturated in Hanks, we had seen enough – good lord, get lost on an island for real and give us a break. So I went into this film nervous and with trepidation – and then witnessed what I consider to be the best performance of Tom Hanks’ career. Just brilliant.

 

Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips, Captain Phillips Review, Captain Phillips Movie, Pirates, Somali Pirates, Pirate Movie, Billy Ray, Richard Phillips, Stephan Tatty, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS tells the loosely based, but quite accurate, story of Captain Richard Phillps (Tom Hanks) from the time he leaves his home, and shares one scene with his wife, played by Catherine Keener, through to his Captaining a cargo ship along the Somali Coast. The story is taken from the book that the real Captain Phillips wrote after his ordeal of being taken hostage and traumatised by Somali pirates. As the book was written by Captain Phillips in real life you already know the outcome of this story, as, well, dead people do not write books, but regardless of you knowing the story’s end it does not matter as the suspense of this film is earth shattering.

Paul Greengrass is a technically minded, film making pro. I loved his work with Jason Bourne, but it was his film, UNITED 93, that changed everything for me. He took a simple factual tragedy, then fictionalised it without any bravado or bullshit. The he turned it into a slow winding spring and kept winding and winding until the climax of the film and then he just let it go and the film went BOOM. As with UNITED 93 this film, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, does the exact same thing. It takes a factual story, it dramatizes it and creates something more akin to a documentary recreation than a heroic piece of fiction. He masters the tension and puts the film, from five minutes in, on a slow simmer with the lid on tight. He never over fictionalises, preferring subtle as opposed to in your face, I think we saw one, maybe two U.S. flags in the entire film. If this was a Michael Bay film there would be one or two per minute of the film. Greengrass never makes anyone out to be a hero, he just lets the story tell the story and has the characters do what most people would do when faced with such a horrific experience. This film is a lot like United 93 in every way, excluding the ending.

 

Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips, Captain Phillips Review, Captain Phillips Movie, Pirates, Somali Pirates, Pirate Movie, Billy Ray, Richard Phillips, Stephan Tatty, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The tension is assisted with the masterful cinematography of Barry Ackroyd (United 93, The Green Zone, The Hurt Locker, Parkland and so on) who blends the claustrophobic spaces and heat with sweat and dehydration on film so well I could feel my pores clogging. But every now and then he would show you how close escape was with a wide angled shot of the huge ocean right outside. Match Ackroyd with Henry Jackman on the score and you have a visual and audible film close to perfection already. Jackman’s music on this film is incessant, it is nearly always there and is near on harmonic on its beat, my heart matched the beat by about thirty minutes in and it was all over after that, if he wanted some light beat going my heart went light and if he bashed the crap out of some hard hitting bass sounds then my heart tried to rip a hole in my chest. I found the score of this film one of the strongest characters and there were a few of them.

 

Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips, Captain Phillips Review, Captain Phillips Movie, Pirates, Somali Pirates, Pirate Movie, Billy Ray, Richard Phillips, Stephan Tatty, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The acting is impeccable in this film. Everyone was top notch from the pirates, to the crew, to the Navy Seals, the Navy themselves and then Hanks. The Somali pirates in this film, Muse, Bilal, Najee and Elmi are brilliant. Their characters are all so different and all border on psychosis when their Khat leaves run out, I assume this is some form of narcotic plant they are all addicted to. Muse, or Skinny as he is sometimes called, is so chilling to watch I was scared of him. His evil narcotic thinking and attitude also mixed with sadness at the lottery of life he was drawn with are so subtle and chilling but also beautiful. He was just a machine in the life of a Somali pirate, I love Hanks’ line to him “you are more than just a fisherman”. It was like Muse believed that was all he was doing but the fish were much bigger and had motors and crew. There was one thing that I found strange about the pirates, how did they all manage to speak English so well?

 

Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips, Captain Phillips Review, Captain Phillips Movie, Pirates, Somali Pirates, Pirate Movie, Billy Ray, Richard Phillips, Stephan Tatty, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Then there is Tom Hanks, in no way is this his hardest performance, but it is by far his greatest. Hanks’ Phillips is just like the Greengrass’s film – it is a slow boil performance. It is basically a psychological thriller, it is a normal person in too deep. Hanks was perfect as the all talking, and probably incredibly annoying man doing anything to keep himself and his crew alive. He was a quick thinker and logical and eventually put himself on the line to help his crew. He did what he had to do, but at the same time, you can see it in his eyes, he knows his situation is dire, and his tension, like the films, just builds and builds and the last 15mins of this film is the best I have ever seen Hanks, the last scene you have with Hanks is one of the most real performances I have seen from someone in shock. I am pretty sure the Oscar gets handed over for that performance right there.

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is out Thursday 10th October in Australia and 11th in the U.S.. It will be rated M and runs for 134mins. I am astounded at how perfectly the film builds, it is psychological thriller at its best and for once Hanks has more than redeemed himself. I will be buying this on Blu Ray.

 

JK’S POP SCORE: 

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE: 

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL KATE’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL BEN’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE: 

4 Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE: 

4 Pops

 

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

 

 

Privacy Preference Center