Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Captain Phillips (2013)

Cast: Tom HanksBarkhad AbdiBarkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, Max Martini, David Warshofsky, Yul Vazquez

Director: Paul Greengrass

Synopsis: Tom Hanks stars as Captain Richard Phillips, a merchant mariner captain of the shipping vessel Maersk Alabama (MA). This movie is a portrayal of the true story in this hijacking, which occurred in April of 2009. The ship was boarded by Somali pirates and taken for ransom. However, the crew fights back and attempt to outsmart their captors. Capt. Phillips is shown to be the hero during the entire ordeal and comes out the victor in the end, with the militaristic assistance of the U.S. Navy.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5 reels


In it’s entirety, the thriller, Captain Phillips will have you gripping your seat, desperately wanting to know what will happen next. Constant story flow without a break in suspense will only keep you guessing. The music composition is fabulous and only attunes the viewer’s anticipatory stress level, therefore making the experience even more thrilling.

Casting was done superbly. According to IMDb, the Somali actors chosen to portray the pirates in the film were first timers, literally plucked off the street. For first time acting, they did a wonderful job. Tom Hanks, of course, pulls out incredible emotion from his position as Captain of the Maersk Alabama, as well as its crew. Hanks presented his character without inhibition and truly portrayed the raw emotions that could have played out during Richard Phillips’ real life experience.

The MA crewmembers were well chosen, and accurately representing America’s diverse workforce, even on the high seas. I was also impressed with the casting of the Naval Crews and SEAL team. I am a member of the military myself, and the film’s crew’s portrayal and representation of these naval servicemen was very accurate. There is no doubt that this film garnered permission from the U.S. Navy to use one of its Destroyers to represent the U.S.S. Bainbridge.

The filming of this movie in the ‘shaky’ camera technique was actually done tactfully. There wasn’t too much to make you nauseated, and it allowed you to focus on the storyline. It was a perfect blend of reality and the stereotypical camera angles and shots. The suaveness of the images taken through the lens comes out magnificently, lending a deeper perspective on the emotions, thoughts, and views of the individual characters portrayed in the film.

I would make the claim that this film is not entirely accurate, from the perspective of filmmakers; a movie isn’t always an accurate representation of just about anything. There will always be shortcomings or advantageous avoidances in a storyline to make the film work. It claims that real life crewmembers of MA are suing the shipping line for emotional and physical harm. And because this is America, people can sue for whatever the heck they want. I suspect a morally stagnate and polarizing crew that does not hold on to an entirely true form of common sense, according to real life reports.

Overall, this piece of historical cinema was excellent, taking your mind through the powerful emotions and thought process of a Captain desiring to protect his crew from the threat of Somali Pirates. No one will walk away after viewing this film disappointed. Instead, you will be motivated and mindful towards the formidable service that our military provides to protect all American citizens from harm around the globe, accomplishing whatever it may take. You have my word.

By: Dan Mitchell

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