Paul Greengrass has a lot to answer for, with mid-2000s action cinema developing an obsession with the shaky cam techniques he utilized phenomenally after replacing Doug Liman at the helm of The Bourne Supremacy. It lent the proceedings an air of urgency and atmosphere, but a Best Director nomination for his subsequent directorial effort United 93 showed that his signature visual style worked just as well in the realm of the nail-biting true-life dramatic thriller.
Combining the two, Greengrass teamed up with Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, which dramatized the story of the title character, who was held hostage by Somali pirates in 2009. A phenomenal blend of prestige drama, biopic and intensely gripping thriller, it hit that sweet spot between critical and commercial success, as you’d expect from a high profile release starring America’s Dad.
Captain Phillips went on to earn $220 million at the box office on a $55 million budget, before finding some awards season glory. The film picked up six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi’s stunning breakthrough performance, while Hanks and Greengrass landed Golden Globe nods for Best Actor and Best Director respectively.
As is the case with many a glitzy real-world movie, some amount of historical accuracy was sacrificed in the name of entertainment, but that’s par for the course when it comes to almost any adaptation of someone’s life, or the defining event of it. Clearly, Netflix subscribers have been checking out Captain Phillips in their droves this weekend as well, after it shot up a massive 39 places on the most-watched list, where it currently ranks as the 20th most popular film on the platform around the world.