Watching "Captain Phillips"
Published on November 5, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new movie "Captain Phillips."

Here's an excerpt:

"Let me preface this review by saying that I have a difficult time enjoying movies that make me feel sick. And that the shaky camera work of 'Captain Phillips' made me feel nauseous — so nauseous that at one point I considered bailing on the film. But I decided to gut it out. And now it is Wednesday afternoon, and I still feel a bit nauseous. Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming 'Captain Phillips' for what is clearly some sort of cold. Or at least a bad case of malaise.

'Captain Phillips' tells the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the cargo ship the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates — the first successful pirate seizure of an American ship since the 19th century. At the time, this story generated a lot of 'Pirates still exist — isn’t that crazy?' commentary, and it was easy to view the story with some amusement. But 'Captain Phillips' makes it clear that having a ragtag group of modern-day and well-armed pirates take control of your boat is no laughing matter. This relentless, tense movie never lets up, unfolding with the fly-on-the-wall perspective and sense of immediacy characteristic of the cinema-verite school of documentary.

The opening scenes give us a sense of what it’s like to work on a large cargo ship, establishing Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) as a no-nonsense, highly competent and resourceful leader. He isn’t the most likable guy, but he seems to have the respect of the men under his command. Not long after the voyage begins, he learns that pirates have been spotted in the area. And despite his best efforts, the pirates — there are four of them, led by a man named Muse (Barkhad Abdi) — board the ship and take Captain Phillips hostage while his crew hides in the engine room. For whatever reason, there are no guns on board, which forces crew members to get creative: They leave broken glass on the floor, so that the barefoot hijacker will injure himself when he steps on it, and cut the power to make it more difficult for the hijackers to find stuff.

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User Comments
Steve | November 05, 2013 20:33

Nice review. I've only seen the Bourne movies from this guy, but I enjoyed those. It is crazy there are pirates out there still, but I guess they generally look and seem different than what we imagine...

RH | November 09, 2013 16:26

Well I just (attempted) to watch this film at the cinema. Had to leave half way through because the camera work was so shaky and the cinema seats were to close to the screen, I came very close to being physically sick :/

- Also, this has never happened to me before..

If you are going to go and see it at the cinema, at least try and sit nearer the back or away from the screen so your eyes aren't constantly shifting to follow the motion.

Hopefully I'll get to see the end at some point, as other than the camera work I did enjoy it very much.

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