Paul Greengrass has proven himself time and again to be a very good director when it comes to taut action-thrillers. Between The Bourne Supremacy, United 93 and the underrated (in my opinion) Green Zone, Greengrass definitely has a recognizable style. Now he’s taken to the high seas for the true story of a cargo ship attacked by Somali pirates in Captain Phillips.
The story is a truly exciting one, even without fictional embellishment. Captain Phillips is a dramatization of the Maersk Alabama hijacking that had Somali pirates trying to take over a massive cargo ship. Tom Hanks plays the titular captain who tried to fight off the pirates, then gave himself up in return for the safety of his crew. The whole standoff, which brought in the Navy SEALs and played something like an old-school pirate drama, is really tailor-made for a big actioner. Which, based on the new trailer for Captain Phillips, is exactly what Greengrass is giving us.
This looks like a lot of tense fun. The style is certainly in keeping with Greengrass’s signature ‘wobbly camera’ and apparent adoration of jump-cuts, but that seems appropriate for the subject matter. Tom Hanks, meanwhile, has just that right combination of workmanlike devotion to duty and quiet strength that we might hope from a non-violent cargo ship faced with attack from a band of pirates. We have yet to see some of his co-stars – including Catherine Keener, Max Martini and John Magaro – but as far as Hanks goes, I’m all for it. In other words: Captain Phillips is the sort of movie that I’ll go to the theatre for.
You can make up your own mind, though. The film will not hit theatres until October 11, but check out the trailer below.
Will Captain Phillips sail or sink? Can Hanks be believable as a ship’s captain faced with pirates? And will the camera hold still long enough for us to get what’s going on?