Watched Captain Phillips on Friday night, short review ‘not as good as I expected’. I had better start by saying that everything contained below is my opinion about the movie, I know nothing about the real people or what they went through and wouldn’t dare to comment on it.
First of all the obvious – Tom Hanks is breathtakingly brilliant, as always. The man has never given a bad performance from his early comedy roles in movies like Dragnet and, my personal favourite, The ‘Burbs (I am still hoping for a sequel) through to his Oscar winning dramatic roles. I don’t think it is a big spoiler to say his character gets rescued in the end but the reaction of Captain Phillips to the final part of his capture, his rescue and his examination afterwards deserve comment – this has to be some of the most emotionally raw and realistic acting ever done. Tom Hanks should get another Oscar even if you just judge it on the last ten minutes of the film.
Other than Tom Hanks the only other real great performance in the movie is by the man who plays Muse, the lead pirate, Barkhad Abdi. He gives a really good, controlled performance but doesn’t get the same emotional turmoil of Hanks’ character so doesn’t get as much chance to shine. The other performances are not as good, not because the actors don’t do well but because no other character really gets anything to do – the other terrorists mostly shout or complain and the crew get to hide or complain, even if they were played by Lawrence Olivier, Derek Jacobi and Daniel Day Lewis you wouldn’t notice them very much.
However, the real problem with this movie is the direction. This has the most extreme case of shaky-cam I have ever seen in a movie, the camera does not stay still for longer than half a second in the whole film. I don’t get sea sick on real boats and this movie genuinely made me feel queasy, I wasn’t the only one either. There were sections of the movie where I really had no idea what was going on, the camera wouldn’t stay still and everyone was shouting is all I know. Added to that the movie is too long. Way too many scenes contain the pirates shouting about how they are going to kill everybody but don’t, after a while you just get sick of hearing it. It may be very realistic but the whole reason why there are so many inaccuracies in Holywood’s depiction of real events is that they have been adapted to make a cinematic story, I really wish some realism had been sacrificed here to give us a better movie.
All in all – Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi are great but wait for it to show up on TV and get some motion sickness pills in for when you watch it.