HOME VIDEO: Captain Phillips

captain phillips dvd


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the most famous line from this film, either in previews or hilariously-but-lewdly skewered by Tina Fey at the Golden Globes: “I’m the captain now.” This line, uttered by the wonderful limo-driver-turned-actor Barkhad Abdi, sets the stage for an incredibly tense film about the true events surrounding the capture of a U.S. shipping carrier by a small band of tenacious Somali pirates.

Tom Hanks brings his mega wattage to the title role but manages to dial it down a bit and convince us he actually is a big shipping carrier captain from New England. (The accent helped–it was pretty convincing.) Hanks delivered a beautiful, tender and incredibly moving performance in the very last scene after his character was rescued (Okay, technically a spoiler, but come on! Did you realllllllly think Tom Hanks was gonna die????). Apparently, this scene–in my opinion, the best of the movie and the only one that made me cry–wasn’t scripted and wasn’t even supposed to be in the film! This scene is worth the entire movie. It is a raw and, I think, honest depiction of trauma and we don’t see that topic presented nearly enough in Hollywood (the other recent exception to this was Catching Fire).

One of my friends asked if this movie was “all rah-rah America”. It didn’t feel that way to me: some of the themes the film touched on were the extreme poverty experienced by the pirates, the pressure and coercion they experienced at the hands of a warlord who controlled the pirating scheme, and the global division of wealth inequality. True, the U.S. Navy did show up to save the day, but it didn’t really dominate the real action, which was happening primarily in the electrifying interactions between Hanks and Abdi.

My only complaint about this movie is that I think it could have been a bit shorter.


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