A Review of Captain Phillips (2013)

“…everything gonna be OK”

From Paul Greengrass of the Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum comes a true story of the first American ship to be hijacked by pirates in over a hundred years.

Receiving 6 Oscar nominations, this film is touted as one of the best of 2013.

Tom Hanks, unsurprisingly, gives a great performance of a Captain who is strict and does things by the book.

The pirates acting, specifically Barkhad Abdi who was nominated best actor in a supporting role, is applauded. This is proof that a more diverse cast in hollywood should be embraced as it can still make money and be a successful film.

Paul Greengrass is one of my favourite directors and he shines in bringing tension to specific moments of the film. The signature slightly shaky-cam makes even the most mundane of actions seem critical, such as talking on a radio whilst flipping switches.

There is a definitive structure here; Prolouge, Act I, Act II, Act III and Epilogue. The storytelling isn’t revolutionary but sticks to what works.

However the film does feel overly long. I feel the opening 5 minutes showing the Captain in America is unnecessary, a tighter film would begin at sea. I understand the opening was used as an info dump and to make us sympathise and root for the captain.

An exceptional part near the beginning, occurring after the introduction of Phillips, is the introduction of the pirates. They’re motives are made clear and characters introduced in a stand out scene.

Finally, there were some very intriguing undertones of choice that were brief but memorable exchanges between Hanks and Abdi.

Although the premise didn’t grip me at first (which is why I’m viewing it so long after release) the tension is consistent. Coupled with great performances and a true story, this is definitely one to watch.

Overall Rating: 7.9/10 


A Review of Captain Phillips (2013)

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