Captain Phillips is one of the most intense films I saw last year. Like Gravity, which premiered very close to this film actually, this thrilling drama shows the potential and very real dangers that come to these kind of occupations. Tom Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips, I've always been a huge fan of Hanks, and his performance in this film, particularly during the last like half hour, brought me near tears. You don't see Tom Hanks in this role, you see Richard Phillips, you believe his performance the entire way through. You felt his pain, fear, and anger in every scene. It really was a shame he didn't get an Oscar nom for the role in my honest opinion. Another plus was the performance of newcomer Barkhad Abdi, the head pirate, Muse. Most the people I know who have seen the movie kinda pushed aside his performance, but you gotta see that this man is NOT a pirate in real life, he's a professional actor. This is his first movie role, but every second he's on screen, you don't see an actor, you see a Somali pirate, who is both intimidating with his long glares, but at the same time can deliver a line like "I've come too far, I can't give up." with enough acting talent that you can see this is just a man who needs money to get by back home. Even the crew of the Alabama ship did great. You believed these men were just a boat crew in way over their heads, but through the chaos, kept straight heads and avoided making typical, stupid decisions that a lot of secondary characters seem to do in movies like this.
Director Paul Greengrass is someone whose work I've always enjoyed, I even like Green Zone a bit. A lot of people give him crap for the shaky cam in his past works, which CAN take you out of some of the action scenes, but for the most part Captain Phillips is a movie is great to look at. Even in tight spot scenes like in the engine room or the lifeboat, you'd expect to see nothing but blurred images and hearing action. However, intense action parts are well directed enough to where you soak in every suspenseful second.
The music is another plus for me, as is just the grand epicness of this film. I seen hundreds of explosions and car chases in movies, but the pirates attempt at boarding the Alabama and Tom Hanks firing off flares in an attempt to defend his fortress was one of the my favorite action sequences of 2013. Captain Phillips also has one of the most thrilling ending in all of film, I couldn't breathe, I was sweaty, and literally jumped up during my first even second viewing.
The only real complaint with this movie is that, at 134 minutes long, it felt a bit longer than it is, but a lot of it is just build up to the film's amazing climax. So I can't really complain.
Captain Phillips is a film that is definitely worth a viewing, with excellent acting, some great directing and just being an all out thrill ride. I give it an A.