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"Captain Phillips" steadily rides the waves

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Captain Phillips

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In the new action-packed film by director Paul Greengrass, "Captain Phillips" takes us on the true life journey of its lead character played in a career defining performance by Tom Hanks. Told in a lengthy 136 minutes, the movie is filled with non-stop suspense, a truly sensational supporting cast and haunting music score.

As an Alabama commanding officer, Richard Phillips and his crew are taken hostage by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Mr. Hanks plays the title character with a rough attitude, yet always a hint of humanity. With the threat of pirates on his journey, Captain Phillips orders higher security measures from the crew, allowing us to glimpse their dissatisfaction of being under a new commander in such dangerous territory.

The leader of the band of pirates, Muse, played with the precision of a silent movie actor by Barkhad Abdi has his own agenda after failing to provide enough money to his boss from the previous ship he stole from.

Thus, ensues not only an action packed battle between the two crews but a battle of wits between Muse and Phillips. More often than not in stories that center around thrilling action, character seems to get lost in the shuffle. Evil is evil and good is our hero. Here, the lines are blurred. Though we never cease to root for the Captain, there is a sense that Muse needs to be accepted more than being just a thief and his simple moments of grace towards the Captain during high times of pressure are a true wonder of film characterization.

Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Mr. Hanks was excluded from the nominees this year. It is assumed, if you compare other nominated lists this year, that Leonardo DiCaprio shook Mr. Hanks out of the category. Many know my feelings on the probable win for Best Picture, "American Hustle." Comparatively, and that's what awards are all about: COMPARING, Christian Bale's nomination for "Hustle" is a mere speck when looked at next to the honest, moving and humane portrayal that Hanks achieved, in which I repeat, is a career best.

"Captain Phillips" in now available on ITunes, DVD and Blu-ray.

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