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Friday, October 11, 2013

Captain Phillips (2013)

On April 8, 2009, an American cargo ship under the command of Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is attacked, boarded and hijacked by Somali pirates. This film chronicles the tense filled five days from the hijacking to the eventual rescue by the U.S. Navy. The director Paul Greengrass has previously shown his ability to take a real life situation of which we already know the outcome and create an intense atmosphere heightened by an emotional core in UNITED 93, one of the best films of the previous decade. While CAPTAIN PHILLIPS doesn't reach the forceful emotional heights of UNITED 93, it's an expertly made piece of craftsmanship. Wisely, Greengrass has abandoned (at least for this film) his addiction for shaky handheld camera work that, while minimally effective, can make one queasy. Hanks, in his best performance since PHILADELPHIA is sensational and a lock for a best actor Oscar nomination, his final scene a career highpoint. Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray flesh out the film's "villains" which allows Barkhad Abdi (in his film debut) as the head of the Somali pirates to give a textured performance rather than a standard third world bad guy. Henry Jackman's score amps up the tension quota. With Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali.

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