10 Days of Oscars: Captain Phillips

BY: JULIE CHUNG

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Based on true events that took national headlines back in 2009, "Captain Phillips" tells the story of an American captain and his crew, as they fight to protect their cargo ship from Somali pirates. Directed by Paul Greengrass and Capt. Richard Phillips himself, the film depicts a peculiar yet stirring relationship that develops between Capt. Phillips, played by Tom Hanks, and the Somali pirate Capt. Muse, played by Barkhad Abdi.

Tensions kick in full gear when Capt. Phillips first witnesses four Somali pirates aboard his unarmed cargo ship in a hijacking attempt. Once this plan fails, the pirates hold Phillips for ransom at gunpoint, for nearly five days in a lifeboat before he is saved by Navy SEALs.

This film is not your typical Hollywood movie that portrays the good American guys vs. bad foreign guys, as it spends a lot of time developing the connection between Phillips and Muse, and blurs the lines between a normal pirate and hostage relationship.

The two hours and 14 minute-long movie tends to drag out the storyline a bit because the events that took place are fairly straightforward, but Tom Hanks’ acting is captivating as per usual. Abdi and Hanks’ acting is what saved the movie.

Barkhad Abdi is nominated for Best Supporting Actor and needless to say, the nomination is very well deserved. Abdi, who was a chauffeur before his first break in this film, did remarkable acting alongside Hanks and really held his own throughout the whole film.

The majority of the movie is shot like a documentary in efforts to recreate the real fear, danger, and enormity of the situation when it happened five years ago. This documentary style makes the scenes look like something you might watch on breaking news. Shooting in water, especially in darkness, could not have been easy. It’s no surprise those scenes were shot by Barry Ackroyd, who was also the cinematographer for "The Hurt Locker."

"Captain Phillips" is nominated for Best Picture, but sadly nothing more in the major categories. The film’s biggest competition is "Dallas Buyers Club", "American Hustle" and "Gravity."