Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener
Written By: Billy Ray
Directed By: Paul Greengrass
Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips, who survived a somali pirate attack on his ship, and wrote a book about it. That book was snapped up by Paul Greengrass who made it into a movie. Greengrass who uses a very gritty style of filmmaking, as already seen in films like United 93 and The Bourne Ultimatum, is excellent at directing tense situations and realistic action sequences. He’s employed Tom Hanks for this effort, who is probably one of the greatest living actors. His wall of Oscars at home reminds him constantly just how good he is. He is fantastic in this film as well.
There’s been a lot of hoopla about the performance of Barkhad Abdi, but he stays pretty level the whole film. I didn’t get any fluctuations in character from him. He’s a bad guy, just a bad guy with some reasoning to being a bad guy. I wouldn’t have nominated him for an Oscar. I don’t think it’s a dynamic performance, and I think there were better performances this year.
The film itself is perhaps a little long, a complaint I’ve been having recently with a few Oscar hopefuls. This one maybe only needed 5 minutes trimmed from it, just to fix some pacing issues in the beginning. Once things get going, the film moves at a breakneck pace. But the first 30 minutes or so is a little slow. I would almost say that the second hour and forty minutes more than makes up for it, almost.
This really is a great performance from Hanks, who performs like he is Richard Phillips. He’s always been able to fully embody the role, and become the person. You don’t see Hanks, you see Captain Phillips. For Hanks, there is no script. There are only conversations and answers. Everything feels natural. He was absolutely robbed of an Oscar nomination this year.
Deserving of the praise it is getting, Captain Phillips is a definite must see movie before Oscar night.
FINAL GRADE: A-