Wednesday, January 29, 2014


To say that I’m a fan of the visceral filmmaking aesthetic of director Paul Greengrass would be an understatement. From the stunningly realized recreations of real-world tragedies like Bloody Sunday and United 93 to his fantastic studio-based work on the Bourne franchise and the supremely underrated Iraq war thriller Green Zone, he employs a certain degree of cinematic ...verisimilitude that I find thrilling and immediate to experience. His latest, possibly greatest achievement, Captain Phillips, finds him working with a career-best Tom Hanks on the true story of a freight ship captain who is taken hostage by Somali pirates on the open seas. Newcomer Barkhad Abdi is terrific as Hanks’s main nemesis, projecting both desperation and anger in an extremely vivid, unpredictable performance. Ace cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker, United 93) keeps the camera swerving and ducking and in tandem with the staccato editing patterns of Chris Rouse, the film maintains a break-neck momentum for two tight, unrelentingly tense hours. And then comes the final five minutes, with Hanks pulling out all the stops, shattering the screen in an emotional tour de force of acting – it’s not only his character’s catharsis but that of the audience, too. One of the best “ripped-from-the-headlines” thrillers of all-time, this is as crisp and clean as action filmmaking gets.

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