Films based on true events always carry a little bit of risk at theatres, but when you can land an actor of Tom Hanks’ caliber, that risk can definitely be lessened, and that is exactly what occurred with ‘Captain Phillips’.
Tom Hanks, a five-time nominee for the Best Actor Oscar and a two-time winner for ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘Forrest Gump’, is at his best as Captain Richard Phillips in this film and I don’t see how he will not receive a sixth nomination for this role. For the most part, Hanks is a presence during his scenes, but right at the end of the film is where he earns all the praise for his portrayal, and that alone is more than enough to see ‘Captain Phillips’.
One of the most underrated aspects of this film is the direction from Paul Greengrass. Lauded in the past for his excellent job directing ‘The Bourne Supremecy’ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’, Greengrass has managed to take a story where the ending is obvious right from the beginning, even to anyone that was not familiar with the true life basis of the film, and inject it with enough tension and uncertainty to make the ending not be a foregone conclusion.
With that being said, there was a definite possibility that this film could have shaved ten to fifteen minutes off of its two hour plus run time, and it would have still had the same overall impact as it did at the current run time.
My other real complaint about ‘Captain Phillips’ is on a personal level, and may be more indicative of the fact that I am still a popcorn movie guy at heart. That issue comes to the fore when you realize that a film like this, with Greengrass at the helm, could really have been done as an action film, and while the film had a high level of tension, a lack of action took me out of it at times. I hate to say it, and it probably is not fair to the film at all, but that is the biggest issue I have with it.
In the end, ‘Captain Phillips’ is a must see for one reason, and one reason only, to see another tour de force from Tom Hanks as a leading man and what really should end up being his third Best Actor Oscar to equal the mark that was set at the most recent Oscars by Daniel Day-Lewis.
For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.