by Brad Nelson 3/14/14
The first logical question you may have regarding a movie such as this which includes the U.S. military as a major player, Is it anti-American? No. This is more of a documentary style of film. There’s not a lot of rah-rah going on one way or the other.
The second question you likely have is, Is it worth watching? And there the answer gets a little more complicated.
Based upon a true story, Captain Phillips tells the story of “sectarian yutes practicing alternative revenue enhancement schemes” (aka “Muslim pirates from Somalia”). Nothing against Muslims, per se, but this film doesn’t do much of a job of digging below the surface despite it’s 2-1/4 hour run time. Why do they engage in piracy? What’s happening in Somali? You don’t know. These pirates appear as just a random force of nature.
I would have like to have known more about the type of pirate culture that exists in Somalia. But all we get (as is all too common in this film) are scenes of black Somalia pirates with bad teeth yelling at each other or at Phillips. And once you get past the initial setup of this film (to the point where the pirates capture Captain Phillip’s ship, which is by far the best part of the movie), that’s about all you get for a good 40 minutes: pirates yelling at either Captain Phillips or each other. All this yelling gets not just dull buy annoying.
And it would have been nice to get a little background on pirating in general in that region of the Indian Ocean as a strategic overview. What have other nations done about it, if anything? Surely this wasn’t the first incident of piracy. But there is little setup to this movie. They create no context for this incident so it is more or less robbed of the ability to move you one way or the other.
Nor, once it comes to the point that the U.S. Navy gets involved, do you get much, if any, setup in regards to the assembling of the Navy teams, including the SEALS, and what their various strategies might be. They just appear like a sort of seafaring 911.
Chop out that middle 40 minutes of listening to pirates scream at everyone and instead provide some setup to this movie, along with more of a behind-the-scenes look at the Navy operations, and this might have been an interesting movie. As it is, unless you salivate at every breath The Remarkable Tom Hanks takes, you’re going to be a little bored with this one. • (1453 views)