Captain Phillips is a tension-packed thrill ride that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats. Director Paul Greengrass is at the top of his game; by combining action elements of the Bourne series with a gritty realistic style, Greengrass adds a new layer of intensity to the real-life Somali pirate attack on an unarmed cargo ship.
Quick shaky-camera shots make up the cinematography of Captain Phillips, diminished only by a few smooth pans over the ocean and close-ups of the ship’s rutter. Despite these few inconsistencies, the cinematography is key in establishing the film’s sense of realism, and is done masterfully. Paired with Henry Jackman’s minimalistic soundtrack, the film becomes a truly gripping thriller. Subtle snares and quieted drums underlay the film’s most intense moments, enriching them rather than making them obvious and clichéd.
Tom Hanks, star of the movie, delivers playing a pivotal role in the movie’s success and delivering an Oscar-worthy performance. Hanks perfectly portrays an ordinary man put in a horrific situation; he is not over-the-top heroic, but instead crafty and determined to survive. The interactions between head-pirate Muse (played by newcomer Barkhad Abdi) and Captain Phillips create a dramatic power-struggle, and both actors bring their characters to life.
Overall, almost every aspect of Captain Phillips is bound to please audiences and critics alike. Through skillful camera-work, a fitting soundtrack, and high-emotion acting, Captain Phillips accomplishes a realistic, bare-bones survival story with a climax that will leave audiences breathless.