Captain Phillips review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Although Captain Phillips is based on a true story there is a lot that feels fabricated and considering the reaction the crew of the ship had to the film, I’d wager an awful lot of it is. However as a fiction the film is gripping with it leaving you on the edge of your seat for almost the entire second half. This unrelenting torment for the crew and the viewers doesn’t make the film as enjoyable as you might think though.
Following the story of Rich Phillips (Tom Hanks), the captain of a shipping vessel that finds itself under attack by Somali pirates, the film tells the harrowing story of survival for Rich and his crew. As they try to keep themselves safe they also must protect their ship and impede the pirates as they try to take the ship back to Somali shores. a place that could spell the end for some of the people onboard.
Filmed in a very similar style to director Paul Greengrass’ Bourne films, the story of this impressive man is full of rich detail as the documentary style adds to the experience. The film, edited by Greengrass’ go to editor Christopher Rouse, is frenetic, filled with information you can only take in on a second watch. Deeply political but never outright opinionated, the film tells a personal story with an eye for the shocking parts of this story.
Hanks is the perfect Phillips, a stern workman respected but rarely liked as he leads his crew through arguably the worst experience of their lives. Clever and cautious, Phillips is an intelligent mans action hero, an everyman full of fear and dread but capable of great acts of courage. Hanks is rarely this good these days, bogged down with bad Dan Brown adaptations, but between this years Cloud Atlas and his performance as the titular captain it feels as though Hanks is having a resurgence.
However the film drags on for much longer than it should, its over 45 minutes too long as this tense hostage situation shifts and changes until the action ceases to a halt as most of the film's major characters get locked in the same confined space together for the remainder. That being said I advise staying all the way to the end for an absolutely gut wrenching moment played to perfection as the film reminds us that at his core Captain Phillips is above all else. human.
Contributed by George Hooper