Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Captain Phillips

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! When are we getting a Cap'n Crunch adaptation? 

Captain Phillips – 5 out of 5

Whenever I hear about pirates, my first reaction is that there are peg-legged, parrot perching mounts of scurvy, barnacles and beards that still roam the water looking for treasure, fighting krakens and looking for comely wenches to bed…then I hear the Somalia part and I’m instantly heartbroken because those guys don’t say, “Arrr, mateys” and I’m pretty sure they don’t wear eye patches.

Not a single eye patch.

Not to give them any ideas but playing "Ride of the Valkyries"
might help their approach.
Captain Phillips tells the real life story about Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama freighter ship off the coast of Africa by pirates in 2009.  Knowing that his route will take him knee-deep in pirate territory, Captain Phillips decides to push on and make sure all safety measures are in place to protect his crew.  While running a drill, two skiffs are spotted coming up behind them.  Eventually, they scared them off but one boat, piloted by the ambitious Muse (Barkhad Abdi), pushes forward and successfully boards, hijacks and takes Captain Phillips hostage. Now it’s a game of life or death as the Navy is called in to save him.

Let's be honest, if Tom Hanks is captured, we are going to do everything possible to save him.

Oh shit!  The thing in the briefcase from Pulp Fiction is ahead
of them!
I always try to disconnect myself when I watch a movie that is “based on a true story” because of the fact that Hollywood loves to stretch the facts.  However, this one I had a harder time than others because I read the story of Captain Phillips and I heard how his own ego and disregard ended up causing his situation he foundhimself in.  Hearing this and trying to turn off these preconceived notions while watching the film—even seeing the Captain go out of his way to make sure the boat is safe and see how the film depicts the crew as lazy and cowardly (even though all the reports from the crew on his boat—except Phillips’—says otherwise)—became so flippin’ hard.  However, ignoring how hard director Paul Greengrass is making Phillips look like the very definition of heroic and cautious, the film is truly incredible.

"Look Captain, this is where the lady falls out of the berry-smashing wine thing and starts
making these weird pain noises..."

Even if the events take place as the film shows or if the accounts of the crew are the true version, the story is incredible and one about the triumph of the human spirit.  It’s easy to get behind it as you see Phillips in over his head and doing everything he can to protect his crew.  Then when the film gets to the actual rescue from the Navy SEALS, the film gets all kinds of exciting and the climax of the film is just filled with delicious and very satisfying drama and tension.

"We've located the yellow submarine, sir.  It seems Paul is dead."

However, as exciting as it was to see Phillips get rescued, my favorite aspect of the film’s story was the interaction between Phillips and Muse.  While essentially enemies, the connection these two men go through during the ordeal goes beyond the usual sights.  There is an actual level of (or an attempt at) understanding between these two men and it came off like a legitimate and authentic “We’re not so different, you and I,” thing you see in fictional adversaries.  It was only improved by the fact that Hanks and Abdi were just fucking incredible in the film.

"Roger that, we were pretty much assured some Academy Awards the minute
we started making this film."

It’s no surprise that Tom Hanks was awesome.  It’s a given.  Sometimes it’s disgustingly ridiculous how talented the guy is.  Hanks is a national treasure and I’m pretty sure he smells like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies all the time.  Despite how it’s pretty much a scientific fact that Hanks is awesome at all times, he took this role to a whole new level and really showed us the God-like superpowers he contains with his acting.  Throughout the film, he’s amazing but the part that literally floored me and literally brought me to tears was seeing the shock he was in when he was finally rescued.  Movies often show their heroes as untouchable—even by emotions; however, what follows after Phillips is saved is the most realistic acting I have ever seen from not just Hanks, but probably ever.  The moment his shock causes him to cry and realize that he made it out alive, I lost it and bawled like a child who found out that there really is no farm two counties over where their dog is running around and playing with other dogs.  Hanks performance, specifically at this moment, was hauntingly real and it resonated in me like nothing I’ve ever seen.

I'm not even going to make a joke here, he was that awesome in this scene.

Keeping up with Hanks was Barkhad Abdi.  He took the pirate Muse and made him a tragic figure who was more than just a generic Somalian pirate out for a score.  Abdi was intense and intelligent with his portrayal and he showed it in spades.  Whenever he and Hanks had to interact, it was such an overload of acting prowess that I found myself just getting lost in their portrayals and seeing them not as the actors playing the roles but rather the roles themselves.  Honestly, words fail me to describe how realistic Abdi came off and how incredible he was in the film.

If he doesn't have a long career after this, there clearly is no God.

Captain Phillips is powerful, griping, exciting and all the other buzzwords that fill up the commercials for the film that sell the Blu-Rays and DVDs.  However, it really was all that and more.  The story sucks you in and it only becomes that much more exciting as it reached its climax and the performances are on a whole new level.  Regardless if the projected bravado of Captain Phillips is accurate or not, the film is exciting and emotional.

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