Warning: graphic violence in the above clip; be advised.
If you’re going to get a person to play a heroic captain in Hollywood, you have to call Tom Hanks first, and then if he passes on it other people can take it. Hanks is the captain. Be it in space (Apollo 13), on the sea (Captain Phillips), or in the air (this Friday’s Sully), you want Hanks captaining your Hollywood version of a real emergency. In Captain Phillips, Hanks played Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates. It was the first act of piracy against a United States ship in over 200 years. Director Paul Greengrass is in United 93 mode here, not Bourne mode, and takes a documentary approach to the events as they culminate in Phillips in the ship’s lifeboat with the Somali pirates, who are facing the US Navy. As snipers try to get a shot on the pirates without hitting Phillips, the captain, who has kept a stolid reserve throughout the ordeal, begins to crack. The struggle with the pirates in the lifeboat, both mental and physical, is masterfully portrayed by Hanks and fellow Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi. When the situation ends and Phillips finally releases that control; the emotion pouring forth is so genuine and so moving…it’s a scene to put in his portfolio with the best of his career. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Captain Phillips (2013) “Taking the Shot”