This is the true story of when Tom Hanks got kidnapped by Somali pirates. It’s clear from the start Tom Hanks is a nice guy. Not only is he Tom Hanks, but he loves his family and dusts his shoes before entering buildings. That, my dear readers, is how movies build sympathy for heroes.
“It’s tough out there”, he tells his wife. “Fifty people competing for the same job”.
Then we cut to a Somali beach where fifty people fight for the same job: of getting in a dinghy and hijacking an enormous international cargo ship. Piloted by Tom Hanks. Wrong freakin ship, boys.
And thus Captain Phillips had me hooked from the start.
This is Hollywood at its finest. Tom Hanks at his finest. Somalis at their finest. Everything is fine.
There are so many good things about Captain Phillips. The tension. Willy already used all the good tension jokes in his legendary review of Argo. There are literally no tension jokes left. But this movie is tense. Tenser than a Rineheart family dinner.
Then there’s the action. Oh lordy the action. Twenty crew. Four armed Somali pirates. One cargo ship. And one. Tom. Hanks. Our loyal readers will know I only punctuate the stuffing out of my sentences when I really. Mean. Business.
Now to have all that action on a huge cargo ship off the Somali coast is one thing. But what if you took that action and condensed it into the confines of a tiny lifeboat? And then threw in the US freakin Navy? Plus a drone? Plus some Navy freakin SEALs? And what if you hired a soundtrack guy to play the timpani non-stop for the final 90 minutes, building to a crescendo where Tom Hanks basically… oh, but that would ruin it for you. SO MUCH ACTION!
Now I’m sorry to say there is one thing -or should I say person- this movie lacks. Again, our loyal readers will already know. That one element that every film needs to reach its true potential. That yeast that helps the cinematic dough rise. That MSG that makes the cinematic chow-mein taste better. That nitrous oxide that helps your cinematic Honda Civic’s internal combustion engine reach speeds that you could probably reach easily if you just had something better than a Honda Civic in the first place.
Yes, I’m talking about Liam. Freakin. Neeson.
Otherwise, a tremendous film.
See it then thank me below.