Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Review: Captain Phillips

World of Blackout Film Review

Captain Phillips Poster

Captain Phillips
Cert: 12A / 134 mins / Dir. Paul Greengrass

I'm not usually a one for a Tom Hanks film (as those of you who know me will attest), but even I've got to admit he does bloody well in this. Once you get past the opening half-hour or so of clunky dialogue and Too Many Ominous Signs, this is an incredibly tense thriller, with Barkhad Abdi stealing a lot of Hank's thunder as head-pirate Muse. The film is meticulous in spending enough time with the Somalian pirates that we don't just see them as anonymous bad-guys, but not so much that we begin to sympathise with them too much.

Once the main plot thread kicks into gear, the acting is solid all round, and Greengrass's direction can't be faulted. The same can't be said for the ground/sea-level camerawork, however, as it's wall-to-wall shakycam; particularly distracting in the nighttime shots where you're struggling to make out what's going on as the action gets hectic. There are some rather nice aerial shots, but ultimately they emphasise how jittery the rest of the film looks. Add to this the constant, frantic scoring in the final act and it almost seems like it's trying too hard. But in the end, it succeeds with a good heart and a couple of moments of much-welcomed dark humour from the Navy Seals.

My gripes aside, Captain Phillips is a gruelling, yet emotionally rewarding, watch. For many, the power will be in the story, so multiple viewings may not hold any appeal (so cinema then), but for those of you who want to see how a True Story™ can be told with the same pacing and tension as a fictional thriller, this will be worth several passes.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Pretty much.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I think so.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
The shaky-cam might make you want to see this on a small screen.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Not for a while.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't. Why not?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
I'm not the only one who thought Bespin Cloud Car, am I?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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