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CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

★★★★

REAL-LIFE TENSION ON THE HIGH SEAS

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jess Fenton
20th October 2013
It shows a very particular and rare skill when a filmmaker can make you forget the ending of a real-life tale before it has unfolded on the big screen - it’s the reason why we’re sad when the Titanic sinks, weep when Virginia Wolfe kills herself and cheer when Erin Brockovich sticks it to PG&E.

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips’ 2009 hostage takeover and kidnapping by Somali pirates is well-known, and even produced a book by the Captain himself - so straight away, you’re well aware that this is a story he lives to tell. This isn’t a horror movie or a psychological thriller, and yet there are menacing figures and it features the stuff of nightmares. When a story can’t rely on spooky shadows, masked men and paranormal activities, it’s forced to use other means - in the case of Paul Greengrass’ (‘The Bourne Supremacy’) new film ‘Captain Phillips’, he’s assembled a cast of Tom Hanks, one of Hollywood’s greatest actors, and a quartet of first-timers so brilliant you’d be forgiven for thinking he plucked them straight off a pirate vessel.

SWITCH: 'CAPTAIN PHILLIPS' TRAILER 2

Allowing access to both sides of the story, you not only fear for the life Captain Phillips, but you empathise with his abductors, in a refreshing twist with a foreign feeling that never quite sits right - a masterful stroke by the director. Greengrass also uses space beautifully, from a container ship with endless corners, corridors and machinery that can feel so big and yet so small at the same time, to a tiny enclosed life vessel on the vast ocean. You can actually feel yourself sucking down carbon dioxide-rich air trapped inside the small orange boat. The relentless tension is draining, but in such gloriously satisfying and entertaining way.

As the credits roll and you finally gasp that breath of relief, you can’t help but wonder how long you were holding it for. In a film that is sure to garner Hanks yet another Oscar nomination and possible win, could it be that co-star, Somali-born Barkhad Abdi, will be sitting right beside him waiting for his moment too?

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 24/10/2013
RUN TIME: 2h 14m
CAST: Tom Hanks
Catherine Keener
DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
WRITER: Billy Ray
PRODUCERS: Scott Rudin
Dana Brunetti
Michael De Luca
SCORE: Henry Jackman
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