Sunday 17 November 2013

Captain Phillips [2013]

Captain Phillips evoked memories of 2 other ‘based on real life’ movies directed by Paul Greengrass, viz. Bloody Sunday and United 93, in its pseudo-documentary style with just the right degrees of drama, tension and emotion thrown in to keep the audience engaged through its well-paced length. And yes, Hollywood’s favourite theme of courage and heroism when faced with adversity, and coming out on the top, was its principal theme. The best part of the film, in fact, lay in its level-headed portrayals of the two diametrically opposite worlds collide in it. The eponymous protagonist (Tom Hanks) is a mild-mannered veteran whose latest assignment is to command a huge cargo-ship through the notorious Horn of Africa. Meanwhile, a group of young and impoverished Somali guys, led by the lanky Muse (Barkhad Abdi), launch a mission to hijack the ship, on orders that can’t be ignored. The nail-biting narrative captured the entire saga – Phillips’ attempts to prevent the pirates’ getting on-board and then using all his ingenuity to keep the damages to a minimum, being taken hostage upon their unplanned escape, and finally his rescue by US Nave and a SEAL taskforce. The unlikely bond of understanding that developed between the two men, and the excellent character development of Muse – he initially appeared as nothing more than a smart and ruthless guy, but gradually one comes to empathise with his tragic life and latent humanistic streak – were among the film’s most memorable aspects. Hanks was largely sedate, but his breakdown in the final scenes is sure to affect most viewers. The vastness of the seas with the claustrophobic interiors of the ship and the life-boat made for a neat juxtaposition.

Director: Paul Greengrass
Genre: Thriller/Docu-Drama/Adventure
Language: English/Somali
Country: US

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