' edge-of-your-seat, real-life thriller Captain Phillips has been creating some serious buzz and wowing critics at early screenings. plays the eponymous captain, who's taken hostage when his ship is boarded by Somali pirates and it's his performance in particular that has people talking about the movie's possible Oscar chances come award season.
Here's what Tod McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter had to say about Hanks' performance:
But more powerful even than that is Hanks' stunned response to the attack and his emotional aftermath. Hysteria, delayed reaction, wordless silence—these have been seen many times in dramatized accounts of traumatic events. But Hanks has come up with something different, a rendering of a state of shock quite unique in which his altered condition stands in extreme contrast to the routine questions and reassurances of the attending nurse. It's an extraordinary scene, one for which there is little precedent.
One potential stumbling block between Captain Phillips and Oscar glory could be racial politics. Kyle Buchanan at New York Magazine's Vulture blog heaped praise on the movie, but did express reservations about the portrayal of the black Somali pirates:
Though 'Captain Phillips' is based on a true story, the optics of this film — where wild-eyed black villains attack decent, hard-working white people — may make some Academy members uncomfortable and could seem out of step with a cinematic year that boasts Fruitvale Station, The Butler, and the soon-to-come awards season juggernaut 12 Years a Slave.
I have to say that I'm surprised by this accusation of racial/cultural insensitivity. Greengrass has shown with both Bloody Sunday and United 93 that he is more than capable of handling and compassionately expressing delicate and sensitive issues. We'll have to wait until the film is released in theaters October 11th to see if he's managed to do the same with Captain Phillips.