Captain Phillips Review

Captain Phillips

When it comes to Tom Hanks, life is nothing like a box of chocolates; you always know what you’re gonna get.

And his new role in Captain Phillips is no exception.

Richard Phillips is a captain for the merchant navy in the good ol’ us of a, and there’s a mission afoot.

The waters are going to be choppy, loved ones are sure to be missed but god damn it, this is america and the brave sailors of this noble country are going to deliver food aid to Africa if it kills them.

Which it may very well do.

Oh, the vast majority of cargo happens to be of a commercial nature; after all, this is an american ship.

And Cap’n Phillips is most definitely in charge of a band of not so merry men, as he leads them through the dangerous waters near Somalia.

All his men want is some strong coffee and a good old male bonding session in the ship’s mess area, but Captain Phillips has other priorities.

Like drilling his crew for any possible pirate attacks.

And no sooner are they in international waters, then these merchant sailors come under attack from some Somalian pirates.

Lucky for his crew, Cap’n Phillips is wily enough to repel these hostile invaders from his ship.

But they’re still a long way from wither their destination or home, so Captain Phillips gets his men to batten down the hatches for the next attack.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, the man behind the camera for the closing chapters of the Jason Bourne trilogy, Captain Phillips is another one of those films based on a true story.

Just how blurred this line between truth and fiction has been made for our entertainment isn’t always easy to tell though.

One thing you can always rely on with a Greengrass directed movie is a high level of authenticity, but Richard Phillips story comes off as a little too black and white to feel real for me.

So the good guys dress in white skin and are the ones with all the money and merchandise, while the bad guys wear black and don’t have any of these riches.

And the only way they can get them is through force.

To me, this seems like a third world capitalist solution to all the problems our first world capitalist way of life bestows upon them.

Captain Phillips would have been a far more interesting film if Greengrass had explored the motivations behind these Somalian pirates, and why they made the choices they did, rather than the undoubtedly brave actions of Richard Phillips and his men.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think things are ever as black and white as they’re made out to be here.

One thing I am certain of is the steady excellence of Tom Hanks, which makes him the perfect leading man for Greengrass to build a story around.

Which is lucky for the British director, as Hanks was attached to this project long before he was.

Captain Phillips is the perfect film for fans of the now american institution that is Tom Hanks, but if you like never knowing what you’re gonna get than you might want to pick something different.

Jonathan Campbell

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October 2013
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