2013 / Director. Paul Greengrass.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is one of the most manipulative films I've seen in a long time... and I loved every second of it. That's precisely what good films ought to do and this one had be in it's grip from start to finish. Director Paul Greengrass has taken the true story of Maesrk Alabama Hikacking and turned it into one of the most gripping and intense thrillers of the year. He has put his personal stamp all over the film and if you recall his previous true story films BLOODY SUNDAY and UNITED 93, then you will have a good idea of what to expect. With a pseudo-documentary style and his trademark hand-held camera work, he has evoked a sense of chaos and urgency that many other directors would struggle to achieve. To help heighten the tension Greengrass has fallen back on some of his more recent Hollywood tricks with a fantastic, fast paced and frantic score. Tom Hanks is superb too and I'm amazed that he wasn't given an Oscar nom. The emotional journey his character goes through is astounding and his performance is flawless. Someone who DID get an Oscar nomination, however, was Barkhad Abdi who plays the film's main antagonist. His turn as the Somalian pirate leader is amazing, especially considering that it's his acting debut. Wow. The action depicted on high seas has been captured brilliantly, as has the claustrophobic interior settings. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is an overall remarkable piece of filmmaking. All of the elements have come together to depict an incredible true story with respect and awe.