‘Captain Phillips’ 2013

Captain Phillips 2013

“The Master of Retelling Gripping Real-Life Events Solidifies His Craft”

Paul Greengrass director of ‘Captain Phillips’ and the great ‘United 93’ is a master of stunningly realistic real world dramatic events. If there’s a news worthy event out to film you’d want him to do it. Captain Phillips is a departure from his event specific films becoming a riveting character drama, as the title suggests, about a heroic ordinary man, a study in what true leadership is. Tom Hanks gives an Oscar non worthy understated and brilliant performance, which works precisely because he isn’t a nauseating muscle bound Hollywood hero idiot. My main criticism with the film is that it is a film almost entirely about American success with a very ‘rah-rah America is awesome ending’ which despite a nuanced ending still seems a bit too ideologically problematic. A film like Zero Dark Thirty also about American success is an example of a film that does a better job by focusing on the uneasy nature of power full of error and failure; though successful in one event illuminating the larger failure of torture. Captain Phillips seems to only obliquely touch on the larger issues of global inequality and capitalism. Side note, the shaky hand-held and on rocky sea location does make it difficult to watch.