The beautiful ocean is the world’s oldest trail, drifting wave after wave to wherever the tide takes it. We have used these routes since the dawn of mankind, sailing it to our advantage to take an hour to breath the salt water or to even charter the unknown to discover new lands. Most importantly, we have used the sea to export products. Doing this has allowed a new curtain to draw; the rest of the world as out technology can become their new tech. Tobacco came to the New World from Europe to grow into crops and give America it’s stepping stones and food from Africa gave way to new kinds of edibles all throughout Europe. Shipping on the ocean is one of the most ancient, but respectable occupations around.
But away from the sails of promise come a far more dangerous flag; the ones that demand everything you have or they’ll kill you. They are the modern day pirates. If you think that all pirates are like the ones in Pirates of the Caribbean, then you need to take a closer look in east Africa. Of the coast of Somalia, pirates have intercepted many shipping boats, but apart from the Navy’s enforcing faster, theirs not much they can do about it. The American Navy is put up against these guys in the true-life story retelling of Captain Phillips.
A lot like Zero Dark Thirty, I have a lot of memories of watching the real events on CNN back in 2009 when I was in my last year of Junior College. Though I had heard of hostage situations before, this one frightened me, because the pirates I was seeing looked scarier then any of the ones I read about. These Somali pirates were more violent and unpredictable, not to mention more determined then the rest of their poor nation.
The story follows Captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks) as he’s sailing another large cargo ship to Kenya. He’s ready for another week at sea having done this before, yet is completely aware of the high piracy rate. One attempt fails, but a second succeeds, allowing a crew of four being lead by Muse (played by Barkhad Abdi) to climb aboard the Maersk Alabama. Captain Phillips is able to convince the pirates to leave; he is taken with them as they steal the ships lifeboat. The Navy is displaced and they catch up to them but the real battle of wits remains inside with Captain Phillips struggling to retain his cool while hoping that escape will come soon.
Director Paul Greengrass knows how to make a scene feel exceptionally gritty and tight. United 93 was a good example of how he can recreate tragic history and Captain Phillips does it even better. The cinematography is the polar opposite of last week’s Gravity as it has more of a handheld look and had a tenacious feel. As the bullets fly into the captain’s observation deck, though the movie is not in 3D, I felt like ducking along.
Speaking of whom, Tom Hanks gives his best performance since Cast Away. He always has a way of putting himself into the roles that turn him into someone else even though were aware it’s him. He completely becomes this Virginian man who does everything he can to save his crew, even if it means possibly sacrificing himself. Know without good pirates, this movie couldn’t have worked. All four of the Solamli-American actors become very frightening as these unstable militants that are doing what they think is right. I hate them for taking this man, I under4stand that this is their only option of making money in Somalia. The movie is summed up in a set of line in which Phillips tries to say that they must have a better option then kidnapping and pirating. Muse only responds by saying “Maybe in America”.
I’ll give this five Maersk Alabama lifeboats out of five. Captain Phillips moves at a rightfully slow pace to show both sides of the action, and prove that even though the American’s and pirates have good captains, only one can make it.