11 out of 10
“Captain Phillips” is simply incredible. The shot selection and film style are perfect. The film is intense from the moment the pirates are spotted until the credits roll. Tom Hanks has never been better. Tom Hanks has never been better – yes, that needed repeating. The rest of the cast is fantastic. The story is beyond incredible and the fact it is based on true events makes it even more amazing. This movie is filmmaking at its best. It doesn’t get better than this, people.
“Captain Phillips” is what you get when everything about filmmaking goes right.
Any spoilers will be clearly marked so you can avoid reading them if you so choose.
“Captain Phillips” opens in Baltimore on October 11, 2013.
Unbelievable. Stupendous. Incredible. Fantastic. Superb. Is that enough material for the DVD box quote yet? I have been reviewing films for a number of years and I have been watching them for most of my life. “Captain Phillips” may just be the best one I’ve seen to date. It may not be the kind of film you want to watch over and over again, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best out there. Everything went right and the film is perfect.
Tom Hanks is incredible. The man is a terrific actor and this is his best performance yet (sorry Forrest Gump). Hanks’s Captain Phillips is so real, so strong and so believable that he is just like anybody you know in real life. He’s not a movie hero. He is a hero…who happens to be in a movie. Hanks delivers a character that is so real you feel every pain right along with him. When he cries, you cry. When he screams it takes everything you have to hold back a scream. If Hanks does not win an Oscar for this it will be an incredible injustice. This is the best performance so far in 2013.
Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. Ali, who play the four, main Somali pirates, are fantastic. They portray four men who may be criminals, but they are also men who really have no choice. They come from a place where they have to do what it takes to survive. That is no excuse for the crimes they committed, but the four actors did a fantastic job showing the real desperation that was behind these crimes.
The camera shots and cinematography are all spot on. The size and scope of the ship is clearly visible. The claustrophobic, hot life boat gives the audience the feeling of being trapped inside with the men on screen. The vastness of the rescue operation is amazing. Everything looks perfect.
The pacing and time spent on each portion of the film is just right. We are given a little introduction to the Captain Phillips character and his family. We see the desperation of the Somalis. We are shown the fear and humanity in the crew of the U.S. cargo ship. And the final scenes with Captain Phillips hoping for, and doubting his rescue are heart-stopping. The movie is legitimately intense for most of the running time.
The ending of the film is also perfect. Many films will cut right to the text that fills you in about where the people involved are today. “Captain Phillips” takes the time to show you some of the aftermath. This is where the humanity and Hanks’s performance are at their best.
The Bottom Line
Go see it. Then grab a friend and go see it again. Movies are expensive these days and too many moviegoers reward sub-par films with their hard earned cash. When a film like this comes along, take the time and money to reward the crew and studios for making such an awesome movie. I’ve seen a lot of free movies in my day. I had to pay to see this one, and I’m glad I did. “Captain Phillips” can have my money any day.