Saturday, 26 October 2013

Film Review - Captain Phillips

Captain Courageous 

Film:Captain Phillips
Cast:Tom Hank,Barkhad Abdi
Directed by:Paul Greengrass
Duration:2hrs 15 mins
Rating: * * * *

With films like United 93, The Green Zone and a couple from the Bourne series, director Paul Greengrass is no stranger to making thrillers. With Captain Phillips,  he has added yet another gem to his already impressive repertoire.  Like his other films,  Greengrass gets the best out of his actors and knows precisely how to generate tension and excitement even with routine action scenes.
Based on the true story of Captain Richard Philips (played admirably by Tom Hanks) who was in charge of the  massive cargo ship Alabama when it got hijacked by Somalian pirates in 2009. An American citizen,  He is a family man who takes charge of the ship when he boards it at Oman port.
Even though there are warnings about the pirates, what should be a routine trip turns out to be a night mare. The captain is on his guard taking possible measures but that didn't prevent a bunch of gun wielding young men to board the ship and take the captain hostage.
The cat and mouse games begin as the captain and his crew try to outwit the pirates as the situation gradually spirals out of control. Since he is an American citizen, along with heaven and earth, the navy and the SEAL team is moved to diffuse the situation.

The story doesn't take too long before cutting to the chase, you are in the middle of the action right from the word go and once the action starts, the tension is relentless. Take the scene where the pirates approach the ship and hijack it, as the audience, you know that they are going to take over but the manner in which it unfolds keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even the characterization was solid, even though the deeds of the pirates were not likable, as people, there was an element of sympathy for them.
Greengrass uses a lot of his usual hand held camera shots which gives you the feeling of being in the middle of the action. The shaky movements may also be unsettling for some viewers.

Of the cast,  the director brings out the best in the newcomers who play the pirates. Tom Hanks in the lead role is nothing short of brilliant. The final scene where he breaks down is itself worthy of an Oscar.
It is films like these that restore your faith in main stream Hollywood,  don't miss it.

(Published in The Navhind Times on 20th Oct. 2013)

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