Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Why critics are so gaga over this movie, I have no idea. But once again, it is my job to be the voice of reason. There is no doubt the true story of the real Captain Phillips is quite compelling, but due to a misguided directorial effort from Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) “Captain Phillips” the movie simply comes off as a bit hollow and shockingly boring.
Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks) who in 2009 was the Captain of an American cargo ship, which was hijacked by Somali pirates, I realize it makes me sound crazy or heartless that I was somewhat bored with a movie containing a premise which can only be described as: surefire Oscar bait, but…
I’ll get right to the point. The biggest problem with “Captain Phillips” is that not for one second did I believe Captain Phillips was in any danger of dying…and the man had multiple guns pointed to his head throughout! And before you say it, this criticism had nothing to do with the fact that I already knew the real life ending, because I knew the “real life” ending of “Argo” as well, but due to some excellent direction (thank you Ben Affleck) I questioned the survival of those characters until the very end. This goes back to the suspect direction that takes this “can’t miss” premise about a hostage situation and injects very little suspense or peril.
The only thing saving this venture is the interactions between Captain Phillips and Muse (played by amateur actor, Barkhad Abdi) the Somali pirate leader. During these interactions the plight of the pirates does become more layered, therefore extending the premise of this film beyond the trailer. But other than that, Greengrass gives us little more than what’s shown in the trailers. In fact, what he adds (a few million dollar tracking shots and a plethora of the Greengrass handheld shots) only detracts from the film, as these camera movements become far too distracting when characters are simply standing still and attempting to have a conversation. I mean, while this could be considered to be somewhat of an “action film”, for much of “Captain Phillips” it seemed as if Greengrass thought he was directing the next installment in the Bourne series, instead of a maritime drama, which (judging by the script) was meant to focus on personal interactions rather than hand to hand combat.
This next paragraph may contain a spoiler:
The Acting: Everybody onscreen gives fine performances. But, the thing I would like to touch on is Tom Hanks’ performance in the final few minutes of this movie. In the final few minutes, due to the situation Captain Phillips is placed in, Hanks must act as though he is under great emotional duress. I never associated the term “overacting” with the great Tom Hanks, but the performance he puts forth in the final ten minutes, will surely garner scattered snickers from audiences.
Final Thought: “Captain Phillips” is a clear example of one of those films where meaningful things are happening onscreen and (as an audience member) you understand that you should be feeling something, but, due to the director’s inability to form an emotional connection with his audience, feel nothing but disconnection from the action. If you want to see a good movie about Somali piracy, check out “Asad”, the Oscar nominated short from a year ago. But unless you’re talking about a DVD rental, don’t waste eleven dollars on “Captain Phillips”.
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