Captain Phillips
4.6Overall Score

What a night, my first double header in about four years; Don Jon at 8.15 PM and Captain Phillips at 10.30 PM. And I have to tell you, it is not easy to calculate the perfect sequence, taking into the account the different starting times, the length of movie 1 (and thus the mood after it) as well as a good genre mix.

As I have stated in my previous posts, fall season aka Oscar season aka awesome movie season has kicked off … and what a kickoff this was. Without telling too much, this movie was nothing short of fantastic. In the blogosphere, the main buzzword which has been used to summarize this movie is tension and I have to say, they got that one right.

Tom Hanks

Paul Greengrass manages to perfectly mix the necessary elements for a nail-biting trip. He adds the right amount of foreplay to introduce characters, scenario and motives. The latter has become a particularly great element of contemporary filmmaking; when movies with a good-evil element typically didn’t spend any time on the motives of the “evil“ side, it has gotten more and more the norm to humanize the bad guy (which was done masterfully in Syriana). As mentioned above, Greengrass pretty much gets right to it and the tension basically starts with the first pirate contact and doesn’t stop until the finale (with various extreme climaxes).

It is also worthwhile noting that Tom Hanks is making a pretty impressive comeback. Whereas he has been delivering solid box office results in the past years, I feel that his last really good performance from an acting perspective was probably Cast Away and The Green Mile (which are both more than ten years in the past). Both his acting as well as the portrayal of the real Captain Phillips are absolutely stellar. The way how Tom Hanks acts out fear and determinedness at the same time show just what a great actor he is. With this performance, I’m quite certain that the academy might have to consider him for third Oscar. Even though Tom Hanks is clearly the star of this picture, I believe that his counterpart Barkhad Abdi who is starring in his first movie (he doesn’t even have a real IMDB presence) deserves a big applause as well.

captain_Phillips_02Granted that acting and directing are probably the most important elements of a good movie. But what sets good movies apart from great movies (such as this one), are the “supporting” elements like a great score (say hello to Hans Zimmer’s new apprentice Henry Jackman). In addition to that, the cinematography was absolutely fantastic as well even though that is something which you just expect when watching a Paul Greengrass movie (remembering the Bourne movies). The use of shaky camera is used just in the right amount to build up the thrill and suspense without completely going “Blair Witch Project”. Added to that are the fantastic panoramic ocean shots which perfectly convey the context of vulnerability at the wide sea.

The only minor annoyance which one could potentially find in this movie is the duration of 134 minutes. I personally feel however that the length is a necessity to show how long, excruciating and nail-biting this hostage situation must have been in real life. The constant shift between night and day emphasized this even more which I thought was really well done. And without spoiling anything, I think it is fair to say the finale is one of the most intense, well-shot and just plainly awesome movie climaxes which we have seen in a very long time.

Bravo Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks…this was a fantastic movie.

The Good

  • Suspenseful and riveting from beginning to the end
  • Great score
  • Fantastic cinematography

The Bad

  • maybe a tad too long
  • Captain Phillips is a bit “too” heroic



  • Running time: 134 min
  • Genre: Thriller, Drama, Biopic
  • Year: 2013








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