Movie Review: Captain Phillips (2013)

Yo-ho yo-ho, a pirate’s life is not for me, that shit sounds fucking dangerous. Think I’ll stick to land… or at least stick to waters that don’t have pirates.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain Phillips”.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of an American freighter ship going outside the coast of Africa. During one such trip the ship gets boarded and taken over by a group of Somali pirates. So now Phillips and his crew has to do everything they can to survive this horrible situation. So now we have our hostage-drama-thriller. And I must say that the plot here is pretty great. This is an incredibly tense plot. From the moment that Phillips sets his foot on the ship, a feeling of unease started to set in. Then when the pirates are put into the mix, getting close to the boat, that’s where the plot starts getting truly intense. And that tension never really lets up throughout the plot. It’s also handled pretty realistically, very little about this feels Hollywood-y. It brings the tension, it brings the drama, it’s just a damn good plot.

While the characters here aren’t the deepest out there, they’re still really interesting and I found myself caring about them. I think it’s safe to say that Tom Hanks is good in everything he does, and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, this might be one of his best (though “Philadelphia” is still his best in my opinion) performances ever. The character is likable, but he is also brave and clearly terrified for what might happen. And Hanks just portrays all that flawlessly. The men playing the pirates here are all terrific, which makes it extra interesting when you find out that none of them had really acted before. They really nailed the ruthless and intense pirate roles perfectly, with Barkhad Abdi being an absolute standout among them. Then you get various other actors in the movie all doing well for themselves, including Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Max Martini, Chris Mulkey, and a few more. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was great. His score is intense, dramatic, and just overall well composed. It often helped raise the tension throughout. It really added a lot to the movie.

The movie was directed by Paul Greengrass, and he brings his signature handheld style to this movie. And while handheld shaky-cam tends to be really annoying and awful, he knows how to do it right (though “Bourne Supremacy” had some problems with that). His directing here is intense, with the handheld shakiness actually adding to the overall intensity of the movie, really making me feel like I was there with them. And again, nothing about the directing here felt Hollywood-y, it felt pretty realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 8,3/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Abdi), Best film editing, Best sound editing, Best sound mixing, and Best adapted screenplay. 

“Captain Phillips” is a great drama-thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain Phillips” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain Phillips” is now completed.

Look at me… I’m the captain now.

Movie Review: Black Hawk Down (2001)

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*Ron Perlman voice activated*. War… war never changes.

Ladies and gentlemen, we got a… “Black Hawk Down”.

In 1993, a band of American troopers were sent in Mogadishu, Somalia to try to take down a local warlord who is the cause of a civil war. However when one of their Black Hawk choppers crash in the city they have to fight for survival against essentially everyone in the city… or at least a lot of heavily-armed Somalis. And while the story doesn’t have a lot of cultural empathy, it’s still one hell of a ride. What we have here is a really intense war story and how it affects different people in this situation. And it was all very riveting. There is rarely a calm moment in this movie, so when there finally is a bit of calm you never really take it for granted. But I have to say that it was really interesting, intriguing and pretty well handled.

The characters in this movie are nothing to write home about. They are all bland and never really develop at any time. And I know that you might be sitting there like “Come on, they’re in a war, there is no time for character development”. Three words: “Saving Private Ryan”, a war movie that is just as intense but takes the time to develop it’s characters and keep them interesting. The only reason you care for the characters in this movie is because the movie makes you root for them but introducing them in the beginning and making sure you don’t completely hate them. The only one I actually still really cared about was Josh Hartnett’s characters, but that’s really only because he gets the most space out of everyone. That and his performance is pretty great. That is something positive I can say: while the characters are bland and such, the acting is still fucking phenomenal, great work by everyone in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by the ever so masterful Hans Zimmer. It is tense, emotional, big and badass. I would really say that it perfectly fit a war movie of this size and scope while also working very well musically overall. I also like the good mix of licensed tracks in the movie because they all worked really well in my opinion.

“Black Hawk Down” was directed by Ridley Scott who I am a huge fan of and once again, he delivered. First off, the movie is masterfully shot and directed and never really has any of that terrible shaky-cam bullshit. And the action scenes are very well handled too. They are both masterfully crafted and plentiful, so anyone in need of realistic war-action, look no further. I will just say that at one point there was so much intensity going on that I thought I was gonna get a heart attack from this damn movie. Thankfully the movie felt like quieting down for a bit around that time so I could catch my breath.

This movie was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing and Best sound. It was also nominated for an additional 2 Oscars in the categories of Best director and Best cinematography. 

“Black Hawk Down” is a really intense war movie with an engaging plot, bland & uninteresting characters, great acting, great music,  great directing and excellent action. Time for my final score. AAAAAAHHHHH. My final score for “Black Hawk Down” is a 9,38/10. I would say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Black Hawk Down” is now completed.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.