Sunday, 10 November 2013

290, Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips charts the true story of Richard Phillips, Captain of the U.S flagged MV Maersk Alabama who was hijacked by Somali Pirates, the first American Cargo vessel hijacked in over 200 years.

Hanks plays Phillips in what most are saying is the role of his life and I for one have to agree.  The sheer scale of this film is firstly spectacular.  The opening scenes show Hanks preparing for the voyage, going through the motions of standard preparation and the journey to the airport where he meets up with his vessel & within 20 minutes we are on board and on the seas with a vigilant Philips questioning the pirate security measures, seemingly overlooked by a quite despondent crew.

Only after noticing a few small blips on the radar do the crew actually start to realise the potential danger they are in and in a brilliant first assault - the brave crew manage to fend of the Somali's - hell bent on securing the vessel for ransom.

Its Phillips leadership that manages to turn a handful of 'union' deck hands - initially stating they didn't sign up for heroism duty to man up and after a more successful 2nd attack - the ship is boarded and Philips taken captive while his crew hide out in the depths of the ship.

The movie is fast paced and punchy and only half of is it aboard the Cargo ship - the final half takes place on a tiny lifeboat - launched clear of the Maersk after the crew tactically overthrown the pirates but with a fear for his life - Philips ends up aboard the escape vessel with some quite panicked but committed pirates - led fantastically by Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

What goes down between the Pirates, Phillips and the US Navy is simply awe inspiring - edge of the seat stuff that sees one of the most dramatic ends to a movie I feel you will see all year.  Hopefully - this story is well known so no need for spoilers but the final scenes of the movie - with Hanks in the medical bay are some of the most moving moments you will ever see on film and will bring a tear to the hardest of eyes.

Best film of the year?  Well, Hanks certainly once more proves he is the stuff of legends and the 2hrs 14 minutes fly by in what seems less than 90.  The overall scale of this movie is fantastically mastered by director Paul Greengrass and if Hanks isn't given the best actor nod then I'd be very surprised - but who knows what else is to be released state side between now and the Academy getting together.

I cant fault this film in any way.  A true thriller with everyone turning in a fantastic performance and Hanks - the centre piece of my favourite film all year.