Zowie! Tom Hanks plays Captain Rich Phillips in what is definitely my favourite film of the year to date.
The fact that this is a true story, and based on a book by Captain Phillips, rather gives the game away that ‘things will be alright in the end’, but – boy oh boy – what a roller-coaster of a ride in between.
Hanks is superb as the ageing, somewhat flabby-round-the-middle titular supertanker Captain, who whilst taking an otherwise ordinary freight route between Oman and Mombasa runs directly into a hijack situation with Somali pirates. The previews give the game away that the pirates are successful in boarding the ship, and all seems set for a sort of ‘Die Hard Afloat’ – – but that is far from the end of the story, and to say any more about the plot would be a terrible spoiler.
Paul Greengrass (United 93, the first two Bourne Sequels) directs with tight camera shots and a claustrophobic tension, particularly in the latter stages of the film. Such is the power of this film, and of the supporting acting – particularly Barkhad Abdi and the supremely menacing newcomer Barkhad Abdirahman – that you are, in some way, also on the side of the Somalis in the action. Driven by desperation they are literally caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
But above all this is another Hanks tour de force and come the New Year the Oscar voters will surely be looking at a show-reel featuring his performance in the the final scene of the film. Just superb.
This is a cinema experience rare in the making. Seldom have I experienced an audience so on the edge of their seats since attending the UK premiere of ‘Alien’ in the Odeon Leicester Square! Do not wait for this film to come on the TV: if there is one film you should get off you’re a*** to go and see at your local multiplex, it is this one – preferably in a full auditorium on a Saturday night. You will not be disappointed.
Now, I don’t give 5 F’s away willy nilly…. but in this case:
Fad Rating: FFFFF.
A short review this time, as with my second daughter getting married at the end of this week, I have wedding stuff to do!
Le-Weekend is the latest from Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park on Hudson) and is a distinctly peculiar film. First and foremost, it is brilliantly acted, with Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent as the married pair Nick and Meg in truly virtuoso performances. They play a couple ‘celebrating’ their 30th wedding anniversary with a long weekend in Paris. Typifying the ‘marriage in a rut’ syndrome, the pair’s time away cause all of the pent-up bickering, recriminations and suspicions to surface. A blinding portrayal of the fact that in many marriages love and hate are never too far removed from each other.
This premise builds, through the chance encounter with an old university chum played splendidly by Jeff Goldblum, to a truly toe-curlingly embarrassing dinner party speech at which Nick lays bare to the audience the depths to which his life has free-fallen to.
Jim Broadbent is just fabulous. Coming out with lines like “your vagina is a closed book to me”, he manages to build such sympathy with the audience through his role as the ever desperate and despairing Nick. Is he Sir Jim yet? If not, he surely should be – he is an acting national treasure. Lindsay Duncan is also magnificent, in a role unerringly similar to the cold-hearted and aloof wife in “About Time”.
Paris looks splendid, as it normally does in film, but whilst brilliantly acted, the film leaves you feeling somewhat down and depressed. The lead character’s marriage is such a roller coaster of ups and downs that whilst the film appears to end at the top of a slight upwards curve, you as the viewer are left feeling that the track is bound to turn downwards again shortly. Perhaps this is just a reflection of most people’s married lives – – in which case I feel both depressed and thankful, all at the same time.
A good and thought-provoking film, but one worth seeing in a double bill, swiftly followed by a dose of saccharine-fuelled Sunshine on Leith.
Fad Rating: FFF .