Captain Phillips is a must see

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Photo courtesy of aceshowbiz.com.

The Captain Phillips movie poster portrays the sense of fear that is felt throughout the film.

Zach Wohl (’15)/ For Eastside

Captain Phillips is a dramatization of the real-life Somali pirates’ high jacking of an American cargo ship. The film follows Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) as the captain of that ship. Though based on the 2009 events, Captain Phillips breaks free of the limits reality brings to a movie.

The pacing of the film is incredible. Quite simply, once the pirates appear, a sense of danger arises that never leaves until the film concludes. There are many thrilling parts to this film that keeps the viewer paying attention throughout the movie. On the other hand, the film also exhibits a decent amount of “slower” scenes, but no matter what “slow” scene is being viewed, the thrilling aspect of a life or death situation never leaves the viewer’s mind. That being said, this film is emotionally and physically exhausting, as the non-stop endurance of Captain Phillips is numerously tested throughout the 2 hour and 14 minute ordeal. This is not a bad thing though, because this feeling helps the film stick in the mind of any person who views it.

The acting is stellar. One of the best actors currently alive, Tom Hanks delivers another outstanding performance that might just rank as his best to date. However, it is not until the last 40 minutes when Hanks truly shines. Hanks encapsulates the raw emotion of his character and does so gracefully, painting the picture of an average man stuck in the worst situation possible. The acting of all the Somali pirates is great, especially the actor who portrays the leader of the pirates, Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Every actor in the movie does justice to his or her character’s purpose, which is something most films do not have.

A big component of the film is its realism. All involved in the film help to create an atmosphere that is far from unrealistic. Instead of questioning how a character comes to a specific conclusion, this film instead comes to grips of what a person would really do in this situation. Using only information that must be known by a ship’s captain and its crew, the writers decide not to stretch the truth of how the events actually happened nor ask the audience to accept an act that is improbable. Also, the choice to make the character of Captain Phillips an ordinary man, unable to defend himself, like in other films, only enhances the experience of the film.

A few minor but nonetheless important things help the film reach Oscar-caliber status. The cinematography choice to use a “shaky cam” helps immerse the viewer in the experience by forcing a perspective of observing the events in the film as if the viewer is looking over the shoulder of Captain Phillips. The casting in the film is strategic because, ultimately, the film is about the survival of Captain Phillips, and the choice to not cast any other significant actors helps the film keep focus on the one character that really matters.

Captain Phillips delivers the thrills of any good thriller and includes the culmination of superb acting and intelligent writing. It is the film that takes the viewer hostage until its duration is over. Though maybe a tad too long, the film comes out strong and never relinquishes its grip. Expecting several nominations, Captain Phillips deserves much acclaim from audiences and the Academy for its acting and production.