Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Captain Phillips

I know this review is quite delayed, but, unfortunately, I have this thing called school that takes up a lot of my time. Over the past few weeks, this thing has been absolutely insane, so please forgive me!

Each and every trailer that I saw for Captain Phillips resulted in absolute boredom! I just didn't think the film would entertain me much at all, but, like its predecessor, Gravity, the positive reviews for Captain Phillips were rolling in, causing me to rethink my expectations. It's been a good while since Tom Hanks has had a successful, non-Toy Story film, and it is good to see folks appreciating him again. Sure, he may have made some poor choices in taking roles in Cloud Atlas and Larry Crowne, but the man can act. His amazing career has garnered such respect as mine, and, heading in to watch Captain Phillips, I was hopeful that his performances in both this film and the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks would get him back on track...

Considering that I expected very little, plot-wise, Captain Phillips was much better than expected. However, it did take a little too long for the drama to get going. In an attempt to create an emotional connection to the character, the film opened with Hanks' Phillips talking with his wife, as she drives him to the airport. To me, the introductory scene did very little to establish said connection but, instead, added unnecessary length to the film. As Hanks' dramatic performance progressed, he was able to create an emotional connection that no "talk with the wife" could possibly create. As the film moved onto the water, there were still some moments that I found unnecessary. Fortunately, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film, which made up for the length.

Although I did expect a great performance from Tom Hanks, I never thought I would be so blown away by his relationship with his pirate kidnappers, particularly their leader, played by Barkhad Abdi. I expected the pirates to be portrayed as these evildoers, who would keep Captain Phillips in captivity. Instead, the root of their piracy was their attempt to do their job, as piracy was truly their only option. This innocence led to the true heart of the film, as Hanks' Phillips begins to connect with the young pirates, leading to the climactic ending that is sure to have an emotional effect on anyone who watches the film. Was Hanks' performance good?... Absolutely. But, in my opinion, the relationship between Phillips and the pirates was the key to the drama in this film.

There is very little, in this world, that I hate more than being wrong. Unfortunately, my expectations are on this horrible streak of failing me, from Don Jon to Gravity to, now, Captain Phillips. not only was Hanks performance great, but I also loved the performances of each of the pirates, as well as the great connection that developed between the pirates and Phillips. The plot was not fantastic, but it is a true story, so I don't know how you really fix that. Everything was drug out a bit, which may have taken away from the potential dramatic effect of the film. Thankfully, however, the drama was so, so real, and it was easy to put yourself in the shoes of Captain Phillips. For me, it would have undoubtedly led to my being seasick, but I probably would have been a bit worried about the pirates too. I give Captain Phillips 3.56 out of 5 stars.


  1. Nice review, Tanner (but boo at the Cloud Atlas dig, lol).

    I understand where you're coming from concerning the opening scene feeling a bit tedious, but the scene really wasn't there to establish a connection for us to the character so much as to showcase the ways in which Captain Phillips' day to day life is both similar and different from the Somalis. Even while living much more prominantly, Phillips still has worries about his kids being able to make it in their world, and then we see just how bad things could really be when we see the introductory scenes for the pirates at their own home. Life's tough, it's just different stages of tough, and is part of the reason why Phillips is able to come to understand the pirates in the movie.

    But in any event, really glad to hear you ended up liking this one. It's certainly one of my favorites of the year so far as well. :)

    1. I didn't dislike Cloud Atlas, but I thought Hanks kind of sucked it up. But, how can you expect a guy to play six different characters in the same film, I guess?

      I see that reflection for sure... But, I obviously didn't need that connection to get Phillips' understanding for the pirates, so I still deem it unnecessary! ha

      I'm glad I like it, too... Love to be surprised!