Editor’s note: This is part of a 37-part series dissecting the 86th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Nearly every day leading up to the Oscars, at least one new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. Also, every Best Picture and Best Director nominee gets its own post. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!
Best Picture: Captain Phillips
by The Phage of FilmPhage
My first thoughts on Captain Phillips were something akin to: “Yarrr, that be a damn fine movie, lad. Me timbers have been shivered.” This was shortly followed with an internal monologue in a very Dickensian waif-esque voice “By ‘eck, that was either some bloody good rum, or I just watched a rather refined movie… but would be better with rum.”
And then I stopped thinking like a stereotypical / Johnny Depp pirate for a moment and appreciated just how magnificent Captain Phillips was. As we’re all aware, piracy is real and is no longer about plunderin’ and drinkin’ rum. It’s now more about hijacking and ransoming whatever can be captured: far less funny and far less Disney friendly. Hell, you know it’s a current issue when South Park can have a (very dark) take on the tragedies that unfolding out of Somalia.
What really sold me on Captain Phillips wasn’t only it’s edge-of-your-seat plot, but its sterling performances. Indeed, I’d go as far as saying that Tom Hanks has put in one of his career best performances. Considering this guy has been so prevalent in the past two decades of cinema, this is really saying something. However, as everyone knows, one man cannot make a film (although Hanks did that pretty well with a basketball for company before…). No, Captain Phillips also introduced us to Barkhad Abdi as our “nemesis”. Now, I put that in parenthesis, as this is where the film excels: it doesn’t do the “USA Hell Yeah” routine… it actually makes you empathise with the pirates and their way of life. Not only is this fantastic writing, but a sterling (debut) performance from Abdi.
Ultimately, this made Captain Phillips one of the tensest and most moving films of 2013. I was glued to the screen and blubbed like a tiny little Phage by the end of it. Simply put, you need to see this movie. I feel it may be overlooked in the Awards this year, but more due to the fact that the overall board is so strong (where is Hanks’ nomination?!), rather than the fact that this isn’t a crucial piece of film making.
So, go walk the plank to your nearest streaming service / DVD shop and pick it up. Avast… The Phage definitely DOESN’T endorse the other type of piracy that nowadays comes to mind… Not when the films are this damn good – support the industry!