Captain Phillips (2013) Film Review


I’d been very hesitant to watch this film after seeing the Danish film A Hijacking at last year’s MIFF – that was such an amazing film. I just thought it would be a bit average, a bit Hollywood, a bit… not great. So wrong.

The story: Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) is a commercial ship captain who sails tankers around the globe (note my total lack of knowledge on sailing terms. My apologies to all sailing types). He is taking a boat offshore Africa past Somalia when Somalian pirates attack, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

Initially, I thought the captain’s concern about security was overly foreshadowing the events to come, however it does make sense that, going into an area with report of pirates, you’d want to be cautious. Then, from the moment the skiffs were seen approaching the boat, things got tense. And remained tense throughout.

I liked that they gave a bit of background to the pirates, some information about their life in Somalia, however it was really only a tiny glimpse. Enough to give the audience the option of understanding that they are not necessarily evil, but being forced into a violent life, but not enough to have a deeper understanding. As the story progressed, there certainly an element of the Americans coming in to save the day that made me feel like it was all a bit yay yay USA, but apparently it was based on a true story, so apparently maybe I shouldn’t be quite so judgmental. Now that I’ve finally seen all of the nominations for Best Film Oscar 2013, I reckon this was my pick to win. Plus, Tom Hanks – this film really proves what a great screen actor he is.

Captain Phillips was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Barkhad Abdi), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray). It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Tom Hanks), Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Barkhad Abdi) and Best Director – Motion Picture (Paul Greengrass). It also won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi) and was nominated for the Anthony Asuith Award for Film Music and BAFTAs for Best Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray), Best Film, Fest Leading Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound and the David Lean Award for Direction (Paul Greengrass).

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