Captain Phillips could quite easily have slipped into the realm of flag waving, cheesy celebratory American propaganda but stays clear of this thanks to a realistic and honest take on the material. It also helps to have someone like Paul Greengrass behind the camera as hes a rare breed, like Nolan, a man who is able to balance for the most-part, Blockbustery mainstream values with deeper, subtextual elements. Looking over Tom Hanks' filmography, it's crazy to realize what a downturn his career has been on as of late. Unless you're one of those batty people who like Cloud Atlas, he hasn't been in a feel good success since the early 2000s. His portrayal is one of fear and paranoia but shone through with a courage and functionality that keeps him alive. The pirates are portrayed by legitimate Somali actors, picked out and apparently did not meet Tom Hanks until filming began on the hijacking scene. This lends the film its raw power and gripping nature. Barkhad Abdi in particular as Muse, the leader of their gang, turns in an amazingly intimidating performance. There is perhaps too much time spent on the lifeboat and not enough introspection surrounding the motivations of the pirates but the film does refreshingly stay away from most prat falls and cliches. There is also alot of hype surrounding the ending. All i will say is although its not the most touching of scenes ever, it is in many ways the perfect resolution.
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