Captain Phillips

“Yeesh, I keep forgetting that I need to write this. Mom just left after nearly two weeks being here, and Captain Phillips was the only movie I was able to get in during that time (combination of timing issues and what I could get away with showing her). But I already have next weekend scheduled out, and I think I can get completely caught up within the next two weeks. And I’m gonna do my damnest to ignore the clamoring urge to game until I write up each movie.

Memory of this flick is getting fuzzy, but I do remember walking out of that theater being absolutely impressed on so many levels. Such a basic storyline, with an ending I already knew, and yet it kept me edge of my seat captivated throughout. Okay maybe a slight lull after the plot shifted (or rather, the location shifted) but otherwise non stop tension.

I absolutely adore Tom Hanks in pretty much everything he does (even clunkers like Larry Crowne at least have Hanks as a redeeming quality), and this was no exception. He may be a BIG star, but he’s also the ultimate everyman. The ordinary guy thrust into extraordinary circumstances. His character here was the ultimate definition of grace under pressure, keeping a cool exterior when his interior was undoubtedly terrified. And the unscripted final scene was just as intense and powerful as I’d been told it was.

I’d also done my homework and read up on our supporting actors, all Somalian immigrant newcomers, led by Barkhad Abdi. As you often hear in similar stories, soon after immigrating to the US he learned English from watching movies. Anyways, he heard about an open casting call, so the Minnesota cab driver showed up with a couple friends and they got the roles. My homework tells me that what director Paul Greengrass was looking for that he got with Abdi was that he didn’t simply want someone who could be threatening. He needed someone who could also be sympathetic. The idea was not to paint the pirates as purely bad guys, but to give some insight to their struggles and motivation. Abdi had a couple bits of dialog along those lines that just struck me hard.

I would have been interested to see a bit more of this from the point of view of the Navy Seals. Granted, that would have been an entirely different movie. A few weeks back I’d watched something on tv about their training, the secrecy of Seal Team Six, and some of what went into the rescue. \m/ impressive stuff, let me tell you. If the little kid in your life aspires to be a superhero one day, direct them to go after being a Seal. Because, damn.

Captain Phillips – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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