This movie looked pretty scary in the previews I saw and I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it at all, but I finally picked up a copy and watched it on my computer while I was on the road visiting my Dad. The acting and filming of this movie was astounding. I can’t believe that Tom Hanks didn’t win an Oscar for his performance, although Barkhad Abdi, playing the lead pirate in the ship’s take-over (his acting debut), was superb and he did win several awards, though not an Oscar.
This was based on a true story and real navy personnel were involved in the filming. Right from the beginning of the movie there is a certain amount of tension. Phillips is packing to catch a plane and there is no conversation until he and his wife are in their van and heading to the airport. This movie is all action. Fast-paced and taut. It cuts from Phillips to the Somalian fishing village where the men are forced to head to sea in skiffs to capture cargo ships for a kind of war lord in order to survive. There is a lot of tension in the village as the war lord’s men bully the villagers and it is obvious that the captains of the 2 skiffs have a power struggle going on. The crews are quite small and the village is crowded; the camera angles chop up the scene a bit as the captains choose their crews, adding to the mounting unease.
Despite Phillips’ anticipation of trouble, the crew’s practice drills, and all the advantages they have over the small skiff (height, hoses, manpower), when faced with the real thing, their worst nightmare begins. Several of the crew members commit acts of bravery, and the captain, while clearly terrified at times, develops a rapport with the pirate leader and is able to talk him down from acts of violence at times. Dissension among the pirate crew, however, and the confined quarters of the enclosed lifeboat exacerbate the situation to the point where shark-infested waters become a temporary relief from volatile situation. Even when the US Navy comes on the scene, the situation simply becomes more unstable.
This is a high seas drama (well, Somalian Basin drama) that never lets up. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. Rent it, buy it or stream it. It is certainly one of Hanks’ top performances. * * * * *
Available at Amazon.ca
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