Some true-life tales seeming take an eternity (figuratively speaking) to become common knowledge amongst members of the U.S. public, whereas others are immortalized in book/movie/TV form much faster. Captain Phillips is an example of the latter, as the actual Richard Phillips’ experience – being taken hostage by Somali pirates when his cargo ship the MV Maersk Alabama was hijacked in 2009 (the first U.S. cargo ship captured in over 200 years) – will be recreated on the big screen four years after it happened in the real world.
The first trailer released for Captain Phillips highlighted director Paul Greengrass’ signature cinema veritae filmmaking style, which is meant to imbue the story with as much propulsive energy as Grenngrass’ Jason Bourne movies and his acclaimed 9/11 docudrama United 93. By comparison, the new international trailer – which includes the original English dialogue with Japanese subtitles and narration cards – includes lot of action, but takes more time to flesh out the eponymous character (played by Tom Hanks).
As such, the latest Captain Philips previews offers a better sense of who the main character is: namely, an ordinary man with everyday concerns – those involving his children and wife (Catherine Keener) – who doesn’t automatically know exactly what to do when his ship is attacked. This compliments the second U.S. trailer, which revealed that the film’s script written by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, The Hunger Games) also takes it time to humanize the armed Somalians, in addition to the story’s namesake.
All in all, Captain Phillips looks to be an exceptional piece of storytelling, with strong acting and technical style to boot. Problem is, so many people still have fresh memories of when news channels like Fox and NBC devoted huge chunks of airtime to covering the event in great detail. Meaning, Greengrass’ film could suffer a similar fate as the Valerie Plame drama Fair Game, with fewer people going to watch a movie about an event in recent history that they just barely finished living through (relatively-speaking).
And unlike the 9/11 films United 93 and Zero Dark Thirty, Captain Phillips doesn’t have the advantage of controversy and touchy political subject matter to pull in a larger audience. That’s in no way to say the issues that Greengrass’ movie touches on – like the bravery of American involved in sea-transporation or the destructive effects of poverty/war in Africa – aren’t important (far from it); this just isn’t that kind of subject matter that typically gets the most awards season attention.
Are you planning to see Captain Phillips? Or have you already heard enough about this real-life incident by reading/watching the news?
Captain Phillips opens in U.S. theaters on October 11th, 2013.
Source: Columbia Pictures
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