Saturday, 22 February 2014

Captain Phillips Movie Review

Captain Phillips Movie Review

Director: Paul Greengrass

UK Release Date: 16th October 2013

Running Time: 134 minutes

Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener

Having already been treated to seeing big hits like "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "12 Years a Slave" we were again lucky enough to have the chance to see "Captain Phillips".  Another one of the years biggest movies and having been nominated for 6 Academy Awards we had high expectations for the Paul Greengrass adaptation of this true story.

This true story is remarkable and centers around Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks).  He was the captain of the Maersk Alabama ship that was unarmed as it made its journey around the Cape of Africa.  Tracked and boarded by Somali pirates, Captain Phillips is taken hostage as the story reaches high tensions with the arrival of the US Navy Seals.

Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips
Photo courtesy of CTMG
First of all, we want to discuss the very last scene of the film (don't worry - we will not give away any plot details).  If you have seen the film then you will know what we are talking about and if you are yet to see it, when you do you will know.  It was this scene for us that really pushed "Captain Phillips" from a good film to an excellent film. This scene alone is one that would rank among Tom Hank's best ever for the quality of acting displayed. The emotion and attention to detail is perfect and really escalates the film to the next level making it stay with you after the film has finished.

The rest of the film for us was good, better than average but nothing spectacular.  It has a long build up period before the main climax and even though this is needed it is rather general and not very exciting.  This may be an after reflection because of how the film ends as there is a distinct change of pace in the film and tensions definitely rise.  This is only a minor problem but does affect our overall rating of the film.  

We have already mentioned the exceptional performance of Tom Hanks but that is not the only standout performance in the film.  Muse (Barkhad Abdi) is the main Somali pirate in the film and is by far one of the more interesting characters.  As to how true this representation of the real life Muse is , we do not know but the performance given by Barkhad Abdi is nothing short of exceptional.  He really plays the character well and throughout you get the sense of truth in the performance.  His performance shows the other the audience the 'other side' as well at times.  By this we mean that obviously the story is told from a Western perspective but at times and one scene in particular you can understand  the reasons behind why the pirates are doing what they do. 

Barkad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Photo courtesy of CTMG

"Captain Phillips" is a very good film.  It is intense, real and has a feel of authenticity about it that some other 'based on true story' films do not have.  There are great acting performances from Hanks and Barkhad Abdi that really hold the film together throughout.  It is a thrilling movie which is impressive considering that the majority of it is based at sea.  It really is a film that can grip the audiences attention and it will not be released until the very end. 

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

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