It's amazing how quickly a real life event can be adapted for the big screen. Some films relating to World War II, took decades to make their way to the big screen. However, The Social Network told the story of Facebook, and it's creator Mark Zuckerberg's rise to fame. It was a just few years between the real life events and the film adaptation. Captain Phillips is another example of the incredibly quick turnaround time from real life to big screen. The film tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and how his ship was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. It is directed by Paul Greengrass (United 93), and stars Tom Hanks as the titular character. Let's go!
What I liked about the film:
It's the contrast in modern America vs. modern Somalia that is most eye opening. The film showed the villainous pirates as humans. Humans with their own lives and motives for their actions. The pirates weren't charactertures, like some James Bond villains. They had real problems, just like our 'hero'. I also enjoyed that the movie wasted no time getting right into the thick of it. The first act revs up instantly, and we get started. I really enjoyed the story the filmmakers had to tell.
Barkhad Abdi, who plays the primary Somali pirate in the film. And unlike Hanks, Abdi has been nominated for Oscar, under the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category. As I mentioned above, the filmmakers did a wonderful job of explaining who Abdi was, what type of man he was, and what his motives were. I don't want to say too much, because a lot of the suspense in the film is based on Abdi's performance, and our inability to guess what he'll do next. Great job by this up and coming actor.
Greengrass is a director who definitely puts his stamp on every movie he makes. You just know when you're watching one of the Oscar nominated Director's films. They have a distinct look to them created by his visual style of storytelling. Captain Phillips is similar to the directors Oscar nominated film, United 93; in that it takes a true story and makes it not only entertaining, but compelling. He gets our hearts pumping from the beginning of the film, and barely gives us time to breath throughout the film. Nicely done on all facets of this film.
What I didn't like about the film:
The 2nd Act
This is a nit-pick more than anything. Screenwriter Billy Ray wrote a terrific script. But, there is a but... while the film starts up fast and furious, the second act drags on quite a bit. And considering the second act is confined to a small space visually (probably on purpose), it was almost claustrophobic watching it. Again, I would not be surprised if this were entirely on purpose to suck the audience into the events onscreen, but it was a bit much for me.
A Heart Pumping Thriller
In my review for Gravity, I wrote: "There were several scene in which I caught myself holding my breath, until the unrelenting action slowed down; then finally exhaling." I had a similar experience with this film. The action grabs you and doesn't let go until it wants to. I had a great time with this film. I don't know if it has any replay value, but read below for the Blu-Ray/DVD specs.
The Blu-Ray/DVD Combo:
There is a Director's Commentary with Paul Greengrass, and a 3 part documentary. That's it. The 3 part documentary comes in at just about an hour. It contains information and interviews about everything from real life piracy to the making of the film. And truthfully, I don't know if I would watch the movie over and over. Not because it's a bad movie; but because I've taken the journey now, and don't know if I want to re-live it. Not anytime soon anyway. It's like watching Cast Away with Tom Hanks. I need my Wilson fix every few years, but that's it. Overall a great film, just not a very good Blu-Ray/DVD release.