Captain Phillips – Review

captain phillips poster

Out of all the movies nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, Captain Phillips was the one that I had the least interest in seeing, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s not because it’s based on a true story, or that I knew that Richard Phillips survives the movie. That doesn’t need a spoiler alert, right? The man’s walking around living his life. But I digress…plenty of the other Best Picture nominees are based on true stories, and I made a priority of seeing all of them.

The Captains Phillips

The Captains Phillips

I think it’s Tom Hanks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Hanks and think he’s easily one of the best actors of his generation. But something, and I’m not sure what to call it, kept me from needing to see this movie. The best I can call it is Tom Hanks fatigue. A Tom Hanks movie is one of the closest things we have to a blue-chip stock in film. I’m confident it’s going to be good. But I think I’m burned out on Tom Hanks war movies. And this is close enough to a war movie to let that burn out take over. All that said, having now seen Captain Phillips, I can definitely say that if you’re feeling any kine of Tom Hanks fatigue, get over it and go watch Captain Phillips. It’s awesome.

Captain Phillips surprised me in the same way that Gravity surprised me. I had no idea how thrilling each of these movies would be. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to watch a thriller, you’d be better off renting Captain Phillips than heading to the theater to see Liam Neeson in Taken on a Plane (Note: I haven’t actually seen Taken on a Plane Non-Stop, but come on, Liam Neeson has certain skills blah blah blah). From the moment the Somali pirates first attempt to hijack Captain Phillips’s ship to the climax at the end of the movie, Captain Phillips thrills.

captain phillips pirates

One thing that Captain Phillips does so well is show us the pirates’ point of view. These aren’t just video game villains. They’re given as much, if not more back story than Captain Phillips and his crew are. You see their living conditions. You see their daily struggle to survive. In this way, Captain Phillips reminded of The Wire, in that we’re seeing things from both points of view, not just the hero’s, but the villain’s as well. It makes for a stronger viewing experience.

Captain Phillips is nominated for 6 Oscars in this weekend’s Academy Awards. I definitely recommend watching it before the Oscars broadcast, especially if you want to see a movie that will both engage you and keep you on the edge of your seat.