For years Tom Hanks has maintained his status as one of the best actors around. Sadly he hasn’t been delivering too many great films as of late with maybe the exception of his Toy Story 3 voice work. His latest film Captain Phillips seemingly takes Hanks back into a role that is reminiscent of some his past greatness, but with Paul Greengrass at the helm could this true story manage to deliver the intensity that the trailer depicted?
Captain Phillips follows a U.S. container ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates. When they take the Captain hostage it sets them at the mercy of forces beyond their control and an ensuing standoff that will change them forever. While there has never been any doubt that Hanks was still a talented actor Captain Phillips re-secures his brilliance. Despite knowing this movie is based on a true story and you can easily research what happened, Greengrass has crafted a intense film that keeps an open mind for both sides while never making light of the situation. One of the smartest decisions Greengrass makes is allowing Hanks to be seen with his family to establish his everyman status, but then leaving that aspect behind for the remaining of the film. In addition, instead of just making the pirates general bad guys they are treated as people but still never mistaking them for what they are which were pirates. The cast is great but its Hanks show all the way and he delivers easily his best performance in years. He is forced to juggle a variety of emotions with them all brewing to a moment that is pure brilliance. This isn’t an action film and does have some slower moments, but the engrossing story will keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the end. On the flip side of the intense realism it is pretty cool seeing the how the military deals with these situations and Greengrass tries to keep it at least feeling as realistic as possible seeing all those involved making every little moment matter.
Thankfully Greengrass tones down his normal shaky quick cam style while still maintaining the realism and look of his other films. Films are supposed to get some kind of emotional response and witnessing this ordeal unfold takes you not just into the film but thinking about what these people went through. This is a great movie that is sure to put Hank back in the Oscar race where he belongs and one that should not be missed.