Most helpful positive review
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2014
Paul Greengrass brings his trademark shaky camera to this superbly taut thriller. A human story about resiliance, bravery and the strength of character.
A cargo ship embarks on a long journey across some dangerous waters. The crew are well trained in what to do in the event of a pirate attack but remain unprepared for the reality of the situation. Captain Phillips is a normal nice guy who is suddenly plunged into this dark and dangerous world. His apparent over caution gives way to someone who is there to protect his team. The crew stand firmly by him as they realise he is their only hope.
Tom Hanks imbues Phillips with some real humanity. The change he makes from a quiet, respectful leader to all out negotiator and saviour is a delight to watch. This is Hanks at his absolute best, a defining role in an already illustrious career.
His relationship with his captors is what grounds the film in reality. It is also a testament to the writers that they have not demonised the pirates. They are misguided and desperate, not evil. They are inexperienced and violent but not sadistic. This is business.
Greengrass injects energy into every tense scene. Especially the seige of the cargo ship. The camera moves around the ship with ease and brings the audience right into the centre of the action. Tension is cranked right up and not a moment is wasted. Greengrass has a canny ability to catch every flicker of emotion on the actors' faces and every detail within any given scene, giving more weight to the situation at hand.
The film never stops tugging at your emotions. It throws everything at you. Even in its final scenes the audience is left reeling at the emotional plight Phillips has been through.
A masterclass in tension.