Captain Phillips (2013)
Last year, one of my favourite movies was the Danish film "A Hijacking" about a company man negotiating with Somali pirates for a ship and its crew. It was a compelling drama because there was so much at stake. The pirates threatened the lives of the crewmembers and had all the time in the world, but on the other hand experts confidently assure the company man that paying a large sum of money promptly will only make the pirates more eager to hold out for even more. As such, the aim is not to only to get the crew back safely, but to ensure that the pirates are convinced that there is no more money they can expect from the company.
I was convinced that "Captain Phillips" couldn't possibly live up to the quality of "A Hijacking", but when it gained so much pre-Oscar buzz I knew I would have to check it out. Certainly, my initial reason for dismissing "Captain Phillips" was definitely misplaced. I was convinced that it would be unsubtly ultra-liberal. After all, let's not forget that Greengrass's previous film "Green Zone" essentially seemed to suggest that Americans should not have used the threat of WMDs to invade Iraq because they should have negotiated with Saddam Hussein's supporting goons instead. It was a bizarre premise for a film. Add to that the on-foot chase scenes replacing the visceral car chase scenes of Greengrass's Bourne movies and things truly felt absolutely pointless.
However, though I think there are hints at a more liberal argument hidden away in "Captain Phillips", the overriding message seems to be about as right wing as they come. But we'll get to that...
Unlike in the Danish movie where the ship wasn't in waters where they were expecting an attack from Somali pirates, Tom Hanks knows full well what they are sailing into well before it happens. Now, a big problem for me here is that I've heard the recommendations for ships sailing into pirate-infested waters. The recommendations are simple. First of all, ensure your ship has a safe room with a radio installed in it. Secondly, if your ship is being boarded by pirates, get everyone in the safe room and radio for the cavalry.
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