Sunday 2 March 2014

Captain Phillips

The bunting is out! I completed my Best Picture challenge and made it to see all nine films in the Oscars' category. Last but not least, Captain Phillips.

 A cargo ship is heading from Oman to Mombasa, carrying supplies to aid the starving people of Africa... and $30,000. In an area notorious for piracy, it is not long before the ship is boarded by four armed Somalians, and it is up to Captain Rich Phillips (Tom Hanks) to negotiate with them, and try and keep his unarmed crew alive. But the leader of the pirates, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), is determined to get what he came for and, whilst trying to keep control of a dysfunctional crew himself,  won't stop until he has got it. 

The story is much more balanced than I thought it would be, focusing on both the life of the Somalians as well as Captain Phillips. By the end, we understand their struggle, whether their actions can be justified or not. For four guys who practically came off the streets, I think they deserve a lot of praise for their performances. Barkhad Abdi was particularly spine-tingling, with his long stares and unsettling calm demeanour. Limo driver to BAFTA winner? What a long way he has come. I learnt from watching Tom Hanks being interviewed on Jonathan Ross that the director Paul Greengrass didn't let him meet any of the Somalian actors until the cameras were rolling and they were boarding the ship with machine guns. Knowing this whilst watching the scene added hugely to the tension.

Captain Phillips is action-packed, and a remarkable retelling of a true story (without spoiling the ending too much, Rich Phillips actually returned to the seas a year after his encounter at the Horn of Africa... Nutter!). I thought it was great, but I have to admit, it wasn't really grabbing me. There were a lot of loose ends, and parts that I just couldn't follow. t thought maybe it was more of a boy's film, with guns and ships and Navy Seals, but looking across to my boyfriend asleep on the opposite sofa, I guess I was wrong.

I couldn't see what all the fuss was about.... Until the last five minutes. If you've seen the film already, you'll know exactly the moment I'm talking about. After that, I was blubbing away, completely transfixed, thinking how unfair it was that Hanks hadn't been nominated by the Academy. 

Whether this has changed my mind enough for it to be at the top end of my list? I'm not sure. But nevertheless, it is still part of the running, and Barkhad Abdi is looking good for taking an award home.

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