You may need to bring a defibrillator with you, as this film will make your heart beat so fast that it stops! The movie follows Richard Phillips; a cargo ship captain and the true events of the 2009 Somali pirate hijacking. Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93) expertly captures the events on screen as it happened with complete-realism… filming on an accurate ship, with the same army vessels and the sea also aids, obviously.
Tom Hanks plays protagonist Captain Phillips and we are shown the story through his perspective, from the first day of departure right through to the end. Hanks, already a two-time Academy-Award winner stuns and gives a performance equal to if not better than Forrest Gump, which we assure you is quite hard to do. In a recent interview with Hanks he states that in preparation for his character he met with the real Captain Phillips, discussing what really happened, to which Hanks replies ‘We will probably do things that you didn’t do, we will probably say things that you didn’t say, but what I want to do is get a real version of you’.
The end third of the film is in fact so perfectly performed by Hanks that it captures the true human feelings: both physically and emotionally. How would you deal with your last living moments? What would do be thinking about? This entire sequence adds to its chances of successfully securing Oscars’ for both Best Picture and Best Actor.
First-time actor Barkham Albi, playing the lead Somali pirate is simply sensational. His character Muse, is multi-layered pirate with both a violent nature, yet soulful. His showcase line (which is heavily seen in the trailers) – ‘look at me, look at me. I am the Captain now.’ In context to the scene in the film this incredibly performed. Screenplay-writer Billy Ray (Flightplan, The Hunger Games) crafts the Somali pirate characters expertly, bringing further depth to an already engaging film.
The entire 133 minutes running time of the film is shaped into a documentary-drama style and as mentioned shows these extraordinary, but sadly true events as it happened. Paul Greengrass makes great use of hand-held camera whilst in the small confined corridors and lifeboat, adding to the real shaky hostage effect. Hanks in a additionally said he had to ask where the camera was on set as he ‘never saw them!’. Even though you know how it all ends, Captain Phillips is a tension driven classic that constantly keeps you on the end of your seat.