Monday, January 20, 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

A compelling drama and a pulse-pounding thriller that was given more depth & relevance because of Tom Hanks' notable performance - subtle, controlled... until you see him break down. 

"The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years."
Directed by:  Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy)
Starring:  Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Written by:  Billy Ray (The Hunger Games)
Based on:  A Captain's Duty (Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty)
Music by:  Henry Jackman (Wreck-it Ralph)
Cinematography by:  Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker)
Editing by:  Christopher Rouse (The Bourne Ultimatum)
Running Time:  133 mins
Budget:  $55 million
Box Office:  over $214 million

This film received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi. Abdi received numerous nominations for his role as pirate leader, Abduwali Muse, and deservingly so. I think he delivered a very good performance considering he was sharing the same screen with Tom Hanks. Surprisingly, Hanks, despite his solid portrayal as the titular character, wasn't included in the final list of Best Actor nominees - a questionable deed especially after seeing that goosebumps-inducing, heartstrings-tugging performance he did in that finale! Understandable though, because there are better performances given by other actors. 

Seriously though, Tom Hanks is in his best form. Despite his calm demeanor all throughout his character's ordeal, you can see his fear & struggles through his eyes. This man is awesome.

The eyes, look at the eyes!

It's also nice to see the Somali pirates portrayed, not as caricatures, but as humans. I'm not
condoning their acts, but let's face it, third world-ers battle to survive every single day. In here we see a group of people, hardened by reality, prepared to do what they gotta do in exchange for comfort - but we can still glimpse a sense of compassion flickering in their eyes, flashing through their faces, as seen by their decisions (or indecisions) and their actions. They are villains, that's for sure, but unlike fantasy movies or poorly developed plots, these characters at least were three-dimensional. Props to Abdi for an awesome performance.

One of my favorite scenes

I've read in the IMDb boards that some people think Hanks' acting in that finale was so forced or off-putting it's the reason they gave the movie a lower score. Quite the opposite, I gave this movie a higher rating because of that scene alone. Put yourself in that situation. You're the leader trying to hold it together for the sake of your crew. You try to put up a strong front, try not to break down, even when you're clearly afraid for your life. You face all sorts of possibilities regarding your fate, and at some point you think you're going to die. And then you don't die. You finally realize you're safe. Then the floodgates are open. All the emotions you've been trying to control comes flowing out of you. That moment becomes a catharsis for you. Trauma and relief - try processing those at the same time. Tom Hanks handled that scene beautifully. Magnificently, in my opinion. 

An intense film all throughout; the score, the screenplay, and the acting keeps you at the edge of your seats, with a naturalistic cinematography by Ackroyd and the shaky yet well-controlled camera manipulation by Greengrass adds to the realistic feel of the movie, thus creating more tension - which the audience will surely enjoy.

My Rating: 4/5 - Clearly one of the best films of 2013 and one of Hanks' best performances in recent years.

Countdown to the Oscars: I haven't watched the other nominees for the 2014 Oscars, and while this is a good film and I have thoroughly enjoyed it, I don't think it will win Best Picture - there's just too much buzz with the other films.  

YOUR POINT OF VIEW: Do you think it's fair to NOT include Hanks in the Best Actor category? (Leo's included. I'm more than happy with the list.)

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  1. Enjoyed your review.. Good work.. !!

  2. I thought Hanks was good in this, but he wasn't Oscar worthy good. I agree with your statement about how hard it would be to stay calm for him in this situation but I still found some of the moments with him to be almost laughable. Nice review all around.

    1. i really love the last scene with him =D I agree though that he won't win an oscar for this, and i'm not complaining about the Best Actor list (Leo! hahahahha, sorry i'm just excited.. and biased - i havent even seen Wolf LOL)

      thank you for reading!

  3. I agree 100 percent! Great review!

  4. Just watched the film myself and completely agree with you about the movie, and especially regarding the last scene. What a flood of emotions; Tom Hanks brought tears to my eyes, the rawness of having just been rescued and not really knowing what just went down because you're in the middle of it, and it all happened so quickly at the end. I think Tom Hanks did a magnificent job of portraying the magnitude of all the different emotions coursing through this man's body. Loved it!

    1. thank you for agreeing Beda. Yes, you can practically feel the flood of different emotions as he finally releases them! Have you seen 12 Years a Slave? Chiwetel also did an excellent job! esp that Roll Jordan Roll scene.



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