It’s always a pleasure to watch Tom Hanks on screen, in whichever capacity he makes an appearance. While this may sound like a certain bias towards this exemplary actor, words almost always fall short when trying to explain the true feeling when one feels the aura exuded by Mr. Hanks. From Forrest Gump to Philadelphia to The Road to Perdition to Cast Away and many more, there hasn’t been one film where a true Tom Hanks fan shall have felt disappointed. His films have made for a great watch while at the same time ensuring that each of the actor’s roles is awe-inspiring.
Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum), is based on A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The film, as the name suggests, is a memoir of Captain Phillips, captain of the U.S. container ship, Maersk Alabama. The ship also happens to be the first to be hijacked by Somali pirates in 200 years. This movie brilliantly throws light on both sides of the story. But eventually, it is Tom Hanks’ magnificence that will have you spellbound through this detailed account of the emotions that Captain Phillips underwent during this trying time. You will also take back a few lessons on leadership, as well as being a true team player. There was a fleeting moment in the film when I found myself transported to the thoughts of the captain of the mighty Titanic, when he chose to go down to ocean bed and rest in peace than choose an easy alternative of running away in the face of calamity.
While there isn’t any particular flaw you may find in the script, you may feel an extreme jingoism that runs along as an undercurrent, but this is not anything to fault someone with. Jingoism, after all, is extreme patriotism, and every country would perhaps, be proud to have a few denizens with a similar attitude.
Captain Phillips, on the whole has brought out the best in Tom Hanks after a long break. This one, too shall add to the ‘must-watch’ list from the wide array of the actor’s movies. Another performance that is praiseworthy is that of Barkhad Abdi, who plays the pirate captain, Muse. To describe in a few words, he is a ‘villain’ with a heart and often worries about his hostage. It is, at the same time, most heart-wrenching to know the state of the people currently living in these poverty-stricken areas due to which they choose an uncertain life of a pirate, a life of thievery and treachery, to say the least. In case, you haven’t an idea about pirates in general, I must add that it is nothing as glorified as the fictitious ones sailing in the Caribbean and there isn’t a comical yet adorable Jack Sparrow amongst them.
Coming back to Tom Hanks, you will find that in this film too he has made more than one effort to touch your heart in whichever way possible, if not in the beginning then in the end. It’s that feeling that may make you want to cry out loud, or just move you to bits. This week or next, Captain Phillips is your must-watch film, mostly for Tom Hanks’ powerful and magnificent performance.