Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of the Maersk Alabama, a container ship heading around the Horn of Africa. En route they are set upon by four Somalian pirates, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi). He and his cohorts are after money – more than the ship is carrying – and begin to search for the crew of the ship, who are hiding in the engine room whilst Phillips is held hostage on the bridge. Continue reading
Paul Greengrass’ (The Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum) sobering depiction of the events that transpired on the fourth hijacked plane of September 11th 2001 is a film widely regarded as being a great film, but one you only really want to watch once. This was my third time. The first was just me watching the film. The second was due to Aisha never having seen it, and now I’m doing it for the List. I really don’t think I can take it a fourth time, so here’s hoping. Understandably, there is no humour or trace of lightness to this film. It is not enjoyable, but at times is inspiring, though more often devastating, heartbreaking and infuriating. We see the day as experienced by all involved – terrorists, passengers, flight crew and air traffic control, as for most what starts a normal day becomes one of the most significant events in modern history. The cast is impressively filled with unknowns, and in fact some of the air traffic control staff are played by those present there on that day. This greatly enhances the submersion into the film – anyone could die at any second, and any could rise up and become integral to the events. This is a must watch, not just because of the subject matter, but also the technical qualities – a handheld, up close style keeps us in the centre of the action.
Choose film 8/10
Back in 2002, the espionage genre must have felt a little like Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne at the start of this trilogy, floating unconscious in the Mediterranean Sea with a bullet in the back after the abysmal CGI tsunami of Die Another Day and the shallow, clichéd hotchpotch of Mission Impossible 2, although they may have envied Bourne’s lack of memory. Thank the heavens then for the metaphorical fishing vessel of star Damon, director Doug Liman and writer Tony Gilroy for bringing this energetic affair to the screen, both setting up Damon as a bona fide action star and throwing the gauntlet at the feet of Bond and Ethan Hunt to step it up a gear (both of whom willingly accepting the challenge with Casino Royale’s gritty realism and MI3’s intelligent action).