Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (book)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman and Faysal Ahmed
The final scenes in Captain Phillips are some of the most disturbing and haunting of the year. They also somewhat erase the good guy/bad guy mentality and replace it with raw humanity. (Spoiler ahead) They involve Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) screaming his head off while covered in the blood of recently-killed Somali pirates who were holding him hostage. It is a raw portrayal of trauma, and it resonates more than anything else in this taut if mostly unsubstantial movie.
Like Gravity, Paul Greengrass’ latest film operates on the built-in history audiences have with its Hollywood star. Hanks doesn’t disappear into the title character as much as he uses his image to enhance the terror of the situation. It’s the actor we are meant to see struggle with a pirate raid on his cargo ship while traveling off the African coast. Those last scenes in particular are crucial reminders of that.