‘Captain Phillips’ is a wild ride with Somali pirates
This film image released by Sony Columbia Pictures shows, from left, Mahat Ali, Tom Hanks and Faysal Ahmed in a scene from “Captain Phillips.” ( AP photo)
Have you ever wondered who would play you if someone were to make a full feature film about your life?
Do I live such a boring life that adventure and incredible opportunities pass me by? Probably, but once I graduate college on Dec. 14, I’m planning on changing that. Hopefully, I won’t get into a bizarre situation in which I must sever my arm to survive.
That was the plot of the 2010 box office hit “127 Hours.” Aron Rolston, a Colorado adventurist, set out after work one afternoon only to come face to face with death. It was an incredible story. So far in my 30 years of life, I haven’t come close to anything like that. I hope I never do.
His unfortunate situation in Colorado made for a great movie; so good, in fact, that it was nominated for six Academy Awards. Earlier this year, nike “The Butler” came out in theaters and told the story of Cecil Gaines, a butler who served in the White House for six different administrations. It was one of the best films of the year.
I’ve heard a lot about the film “12 Years a Slave,” a true story about a man named Solomon Northrup, a free black man living in New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. I haven’t seen the picture yet, but have read nothing but praise so far.
These are all great examples of extraordinary things that have happened in people’s lives. I have yet to experience anything in my life that is motion picture worthy. The best stories are always told whenever someone was there and lived it. With that being said, let’s take a look at “Captain Phillips.”
Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, who is also responsible for 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy” and 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” tells the story of Captain Richard Phillips, commander of the Alabama, a cargo ship carrying various goods around the world. After receiving an e mail warning him of the potential dangers with Somali pirates, the crew soon encounters a potential threat that is unable to keep up with the giant vessel. Due to Phillips’ quick wit, he convinces the Somali pirates, by disguising his voice, that UN security jets are en route and will target any small ship tailing the Alabama.
Close call! An emergency meeting is then held between the captain and his crew about the close encounter. Naturally, the crew is worried that the pirates may give it a second go. Needless to say, they were right. The pirates come back in a much faster speed boat armed with M 16s and instructions for the giant vessel to stop its engines for inspection. Unwilling to abide by the Somali pirates’ orders, the ship continues on only to be met with M 16 fire. The crew sets off their water hoses, which I suppose were made to deter pirates from boarding the ship. The pirates find an opening and soon board and take over the giant cargo ship.
Phillips orders his men to stay hidden until he can figure out how to get the pirates off the ship. Ultimately, the crew members take down the leader to the pact and Phillips makes a deal for the four men to vacate their ship on one of the life boats with a few thousand dollars the ship had in its safe.
Right before the deal is set to be made, Phillips is ordered to board the life boat with the pirates and is taken hostage by the four men. Tom Hanks plays Phillips and Barkhad Abdi plays the Somali pirate head honcho “Muse.”
The estimated budget for the film was $55 million and has since grossed over $92 million worldwide. I thought it was interesting to read that Hanks had not met the actors who were playing the part of the Somali pirates until they began filming the scenes in which they take over the ship. Greengrass said that was the plan from the beginning to build tension between the two. I think it worked well.
We’ll start with some themes that I took from watching the picture. First we’ll start with despair. The Somali pirates, after being defeated by the crew, in their last minute of despair, shoved Phillips into the life boat in hopes that he would keep them all alive. They were convinced that as long as they had this man with them, everything would work out.
Second, we’ll look at power and strength as a theme. The Somali pirates had a serious power struggle amongst them. Muse had to portray himself as a go getter, nike someone who wasn’t going to stop until he had what he wanted. After some hazing from some of the other pirates, Muse established himself as the leader and the brains behind the operation.
As for strength, it takes a strong man to settle in for the long haul and Phillips did just that. It’s hard to fathom going through something like he did; he had incredible strength. I suppose the will to survive can make us all capable of thing nike s we never thought we were capable of doing.
The last theme that I took from the picture was truth. During the film, Phillips asks Muse what he is and what he does for a living. Muse responds that they’re all fishe nike rman. Following a long in the movie, you realize that for as bad as it may be, hijacking cargo is one of the only ways to survive in Somalia. In a poverty stricken nation that has had the fish taken from their waters and food from their tables, the only way to survive is through hijacking.
Of course, we don’t condone this type of behavior, but maybe we should begin helping these people more in order to avoid more hostile situations like what we see in “Captain Phillips.”
There’s a new trend in motion picture called “hand held.” The more I go and watch new movies, the more obvious it’s becoming that cinematographers are going “hand held” with filming equipment I suppose for this picture, it actually complemented the environment in which the film was taking place. The hand held method really highlighted the fact that you were on a ship on the ocean. The back and forth swaying was obvious with the hand held.
I also thought it was appropriate to show the chaos that was taking place when the Somali pirates first boarded the ship. There was a lot of panning between the different characters in the film, which really helped put the viewer right there with the crew of the ship.
Overall, this movie was incredible. I know I’m a little late on this picture because of the themed out Halloween pictures in October, but after watching, I suggest you see it. Hanks will be up for an Academy Award for his performance and I’m sure the movie itself will be up for Best Picture.
It is a great movie with an incredible story! “Captain Phillips” is rated PG 13 and has a running time of 134 minutes.