So once again we have survived.

Captain Phillips

tn_captainphillipsCAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a tense and well made thriller based on a simple real life incident: a small band of Somali pirates board an American cargo ship to try to hold the crew for ransom, the crew tries to not be held for ransom. I remember when this happened. I mean, I’m sure this sort of thing happens all the time, but this was the famous one because of how things ended up. So that’s all I really knew about the story, so I was in suspense about how things ended up how they ended up.

Tom Hanks (HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE) plays the titlional captain, portrayed as an ordinary sorta schlubby working man married to Catherine Keener (in a part only slightly bigger than she had as the dead body in BAD GRANDPA). There’s a sense of inevitable doom as he takes his boat around the horn of Africa. We’re not the only ones who know he’s gonna get hijacked. He spends the first part of the movie suffering from an acute case of That Sinking Feeling until sure enough a suspiciously close skiff shows up on the radar.

Then it becomes a procedural about anti-hijacking measures: water hoses on the side of the boat meant to sink approaching skiffs, ramming maneuvers to prevent them from hooking a ladder on, locking of “pirate cages” (the pirates get through those so fast I’m pretty sure they must be a scam sold on some late night infomercial), hiding and locking down the crew, turning off the power, playing dumb about all this. Phillips and a few of the other higher-ups are captured in the cockpit and Phillips has to bring them through the ship to find the crew, condescendingly trying to slow them down with fake helpful suggestions like stopping to make sure everybody is hydrated before they go down into the hot engine room. He does everything but offer them moisturizer.

mp_captainphillipsCan he slow them down without pissing them off? Will the crew be able to pull off their own plans (which include a technique taken out of the Hans Grueber playbook)? And what about the dynamics between the young pirates themselves? There’s a hot-blooded Mr. Blonde in the group who’s always giving the leader (Barkhad Abdi) shit about his decisions, putting him on edge ’cause he wants to prove himself, and also he has a little brother there who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. I mean, even less than they do. It’s almost an Elmore Leonard type of dangerous, you’re as worried about them fucking up as doing something bad on purpose.

For a long time Captain Phillips and crew are on their own, but eventually the military shows up. By this point the pirates are in a covered lifeboat with Phillips as their hostage. There’s one mention of the White House and it doesn’t make Obama look good – it’s implied that if they can’t save Phillips they’re supposed to blow up the boat before it gets ashore and becomes an embarrassing hostage crisis. Just like those assholes wanted to nuke New York in THE AVENGERS. But Iron Man saved the day that time, and in this case its Navy SEALs that fly in to the rescue. This is the most interesting part as they use a negotiator (REDBELT’s Max Martini), a rope, a fake bargain and waves to get their shots on the pirates and not get Phillips killed by either side. I thought they just had to storm the cargo ship. I had no idea they had to snipe ’em in a tiny boat with tiny windows.

The director is Paul Greengrass, who it seems like people have strong opinions on. There’s the contingent that sees him as the thinking man’s action-thriller director and the other one that sees him as the Horseman who brought us the Plague of the Cameras That Shaketh. My instinct is to lean to the second one, but if I’m honest I can’t fairly judge him because I haven’t seen most of the movies he’s made. I liked-not-loved his two BOURNEs, thought he was good at making his style readable but still didn’t know why he thought a non-documentary had to have way worse camerawork than in actual documentaries shot in real battle. I never saw BLOODY SUNDAY, wasn’t up for UNITED 93 and was scared away from GREEN ZONE when even Greengrassians told me they couldn’t tell what was even going on. So I’m only comparing three movies here, but CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is the best of the ones I’ve seen. It’s in that same handheld style, but this is not an action movie and any shakiness didn’t interfere with my understanding of the geography.

If you’re looking for it to say something smart about these types of conflicts I’m not sure you’re gonna find it. It just makes the wise move of depicting everybody as humans. We first see the pirates at home and they’d rather stay there, but the bosses storm in and threaten everybody with guns and what else can they do? To them it’s a shitty, dangerous job just like for Phillips’s crew. Only the pirates don’t have a union so they don’t get coffee breaks. They have little things they say that are supposed to win over the customer, like “we’re not Al Quaeda. Just business. Everything okay.”

The whole thing is so tragic. All these guys on the bottom of the totem pole just trying to do their crappy jobs and people are gonna have to die on one side if not both. It would be kinda cool actually if they started with the pirates before we got to the Americans, to make it feel like we were watching the whole thing through their point of view. But their introduction goes a long way toward showing their unfortunate place in the system instead of just making them scary foreigners with guns and big teeth.

Hanks is so famous of course it’s hard not to think of him as Tom Hanks doing an accent, or Walt Disney without the mustache, but it’s one of his more successful transformations I think, and everybody around him feels really natural. These are working men, not handsome, mostly with bellies. I especially like his first mate, Shane (Michael Chernus), who reminds me of a clerk at a grocery store in my neighborhood. And the medic at the end, who has got to be a real medic doing her thing. Hopefully they told her this was Tom Hanks and weren’t playing a JACKASS type prank on her. And the pirates are amazing. They come across as flawed kids, not evil villains. More like boyz n the hood than kings of New York.

After watching I made the risky move of trying to read up on how accurate the movie is to the real events. It seems to be heavily researched and close to what Phillips says happened in his book. Unfortunately there are also people from the crew claiming his book is full of shit. In my opinion the movie doesn’t make him out to be some awesome hero who saved the day, he’s just a guy who goes through an ordeal, makes some good decisions, takes some risks, gets lucky. He’s even kind of an asshole sometimes – I think you’re supposed to relate to the crew not thinking they get paid enough to fight pirates, and side with them when he keeps implying that they’re lazy people who just sit around drinking coffee all day.

Unfortunately, some crew members claim in a lawsuit that he was neglectful and ignored many warnings, unlike the guy in the movie who is way more observant and concerned than everybody else. But I don’t know. Greengrass commented on this and said that he had people heavily fact check the movie, he didn’t find those claims to be credible and he portrayed what he believed to be accurate. Maybe he’s right, I don’t know.

Anyway, screenwriter Billy Ray is best known for writing HIDDEN ASSASSIN, and also he did HUNGER GAMES but obviously nobody gives a shit because he wrote one for Dolph, that’s the headline. Here he has scripted a good piracy thriller, well executed by Greengrass and cast. This movie is much better than I expected. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at 3:20 pm and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

40 Responses to “Captain Phillips”

  1. I want to live in the universe where the last sentence of this review is the quote above the title on the DVD case of this movie.

  2. Yeah, this is a good one. Greengrassian action isn’t for me, but this is more of a thriller, and the guy totally gets plot, tension, characterization etc. Also, Hanks’s last scene is absolutely breathtaking, it had me tearing up in the theater.

  3. I seocnd that emotion

  4. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 9th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    People keep saying this is good but I just can’t work up any excitement over it. I guess I’m not in the mood for the whole “the bad guys are just people man, they are just trying to survive just like you and me” thing. It’s too depressing for me. You want to hate the bad guys but you can’t. I’d rather have some escapist entertainment right now, like Jason Bourne having an awesome car battle with evil Russian Karl Urban.

    I’ll probably check this out in a few years though. Maybe when I’m in a sunnier mood.

  5. Vern – Umm shakey cam was around before Greengrass was on Hollywood’s radar. Why is he blamed and not say Senor Bay? Then again Greengrass is the only guy I know who somehow can make shakey cam “work.” Too bad the 100 other people who use shakey cam aren’t as successful. (First HUNGER GAMES movie, wow that could be the worst example unless somebody has better, more recent examples.)

    Also UNITED 93 is worth seeing, the same with BLOODY SUNDAY. I would even say the same with GREEN ZONE, which if I remember right Vern you didn’t bother to see it along the lines of “I already know the WMD reports in Iraq were lies. Why do I need a 2 hour movie to tell me that,” if I remember right. Shoot, Stu, whoever it is that likes to research old RRA postings, care to look up what Vern exactly said so we’ll know?

    Anyway I think my favorite part in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS was the 3rd act, where the pirates on that lifeboat know that they’re absolutely fucked but are in denial and fight in vain against it. Good shit.

  6. The last five minutes with Hanks was what I liked best…the rest is a solid, but not the most suspenseful film….

  7. The BBC piece I heard on this focused on the crew’s complaint that ol’ Capt. Phillips had known about the danger of pirates, but had chosen a route closer to Somalia’s coast to save time. Perhaps they are wrong, but defenders of the film in the same story never addressed that specific charge. But it sounds believable.

    At that time 5 ships had been seized by pirates off the Somali coast. The recommendation was to stay 600 miles offshore, but the Maersk Alabama was less than half that. According to the references in the Wikipedia article.

    I could believe that Greengrass and the studio would go with the Capt’s version, rather than complicate the character by making him look like a dumbass.

  8. Vern, what do you mean “These are working men, not handsome, mostly with bellies”? I’ve always taken for granted that “the bigger, the better” goes for every part of the male body. Do you mean to say that a big manly belly isn’t handsome?

  9. The Original... Paul

    January 10th, 2014 at 6:42 am

    “United 93” is great.

    I had the opportunity to see this, but didn’t, because I got warned that the hand-held camera would be particularly bad for me. (I couldn’t deal with it in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” or “The Lincoln Lawyer” – heck, it even annoyed me in “The Forgiveness of Blood”.) I figured that I wasn’t up for another film that made me feel sick. Glad you enjoyed it but I’m really not up for spending money on this, no matter how good it is on a narrative level.

  10. RRA: I guess Greengrass gets all the blame, because Bay’s movies never won any awards for their visual style, while his completely unwatchable BOURNE ULTIMATUM even won an Oscar for best editing! (Not to mention that Bay at least knows that steady cams, dollies and tripods exist and even uses them!)

  11. RRA – It’s Steven Spielberg that should be credited for the shaky cam with Saving Private Ryan, and then Ridley Scott start to use it in Gladiator (only the action scenes) and of course Black Hakw Down. Then Paul Greengrass started to use it in Bloody Sunday from 2002, he of course says he was inspired by the Cinema Verite documentaries from the 60’s, and the film Battle of Algerie. Also Dr. Strangelove he used it briefly in a shoot out.

    Michael Bay’s shakey cam is very different. He is more about rapid cutting and steady camera movement. If you look at films like The Rock, he only use shaky cam to give the illusion of cars moving in the car chase. Other than that he doesn’t really use shaky cam, he more likes to use the smooth steady cam. Even Gladiator has more shaky cam then anything by Michael Bay.

  12. You know how everyone went on about Gravity? I went on that way about Captain Phillips. I compare the two because they’re both highly tense “predicament” films focusing on a protagonist stuck in an almost insurmountable situation.

    To me, though, Captain Phillips was just so much more immersive and suspenseful, and it has a moment at the very end that is just such an emotional knockout that it completely floored me and won me over.

    P.S. Billy Ray is one of the most underrated filmmakers out, I think. Have you guys seen Shattered Glass and Breach? Those are really fucking good, man. I wish he would direct more, but I’m glad he’s getting good writing gigs.

  13. Shaky cam came into fashion about 10 years earlier, with NYPD BLUE. The same time they got permission to show male butts on American national TV for the first time.

  14. There were female butts, too. The shakycam let you know that they were gritty, realistic butts.

  15. RCC – if I remember the movie, it did show that Hanks basically was aware of the danger and also wanted to reach the destination on time so he cut a corner, took a chance…which came back to bite him in the ass.

    Olyphantastic/CJ Holden – I have to deeply simply disagree with you chaps. I know we hate “post-action” and that blasphemy and we don’t want an ideological dent in our united front that could muddy waters for our cause, but again I’ve never felt or suffered from post-action symptoms with Mr. Greengrass. I’m always aware of what’s going on, there’s always a decent sense of geography to the proceedings. If we view action filmmaking as lovemaking, I think there’s a seduction to what Greengrass does that works for me unlike just about every other post-action effort. His mayhem has never confused me or for that matter, never bored me. Again somehow his madness makes it just work.

    Contrast that with Bay’s filmatics, however you may define it and there’s no seduction. It’s boring, its loud, its forcefully doesn’t give a damn what you want or think. There is no connecton between the viewer and narrative. If action filmmaking is lovemaking, he’s a rapist.

    And that’s your hyperbolic RRA comment of the day!

  16. Majestyk, at least the female butts were attractive. I could’ve gone my entire life without having to see Dennis Franz’s butt.

    RRA, I didn’t hate and could follow most of the action in the BOURNE sequels everywhere except the car chase with Keith Urban. That got my head spinning a little.

    What I hate, more than the shakycam, though, is when they do micro zooms for no reason other than to piss me off. In, out, in, out, just a little bit more in, now back out. Pick a focal length!

  17. Maggie, I’m with you on the BOURNE shakycam. I thought the bathroom fight in ULTIMATUM was the best post-action fight I’ve ever seen. Somehow it maintained momentum, rhythm, and geography while being reduced to a series of impressionist blurs and smears. But that car chase in SUPREMACY was gibberish. I remember seeing the behind-the-scenes of how they shot it and being appalled at how much hard work by the stunt and camera teams was utterly wasted by the editing and framing. It’s always a bummer when a guy with a camcorder hanging out on the set captures the action better than the actual director of the movie.

  18. I’ve said this before, but I really do think we should be careful to not turn our general distaste for shakycam into a kneejerk reaction. I’ve seen a lot of people completely dismiss a movie simply because they didn’t like the camerawork, which isn’t exactly reasonable or fair.

    I understand what a major gripe it can be (I get like that when I see a random and unnecessary greenscreen shot in what is otherwise a very natural and “real” looking film), but it can also be a valid aesthetic choice. Granted, 9 out of 10 times it just looks retarded, but films like Saving Private Ryan and The Bourne Ultimatum show that it can work. I think the editing for Ultimatum was very skillful and actually centered and focused some of the more frenetic camera movement.

    So many elements go into realising a scene. Sometimes they compliment each other. Sometimes they throw each other off balance. Sometimes, like in the case of United 93, they can come together into an almost-too-real and devastating whole. Personally, I think Greengrass is a master.

  19. I happen to love the Supremacy car chase. It’s extremely visceral, but I still know exactly what’s going on geographically. I’ll always prefer a classical approach as in Ronin, but as a poster-child for trying something different stylistically and making it work, Bourne Supremacy is great.

    Greengrass understands editing unlike Bay. You watch the car chase in The Rock and it’s a bloody mess. I don’t care what he’s doing with the camera, the man can’t edit together a sequence coherently to save his life.

    Captain Phillips is also crystal clear in terms of what’s going on, and the camerawork never distracted me from it.

  20. Whoa. Weirdly enough, that Shane dude looks like a guy from my grocery store too!
    And I’m from Tel Aviv.

  21. RRA – Greengrass gets blamed because it was BOURNE SUPREMACY that everybody was copying when everybody started doing it.

    I don’t believe I ever said or thought anything like that for GREEN ZONE, although I heard people say it. I was actually excited for it because I always have hopes for Brian Helgeland scripts and I like action movies with some politics in them. But when a couple people I know who are way too into the BOURNE movies said that even they couldn’t tell what was going on and that it wasn’t worth watching I got scared off. Do you think they were wrong?

  22. Spielberg seemed to mostly be the originator of the use of shaky-cam in Hollywood, but whereas Spielberg was innovative and much more subtle in his use of the form, (the stuff in SPR is still pretty close to his instinctively clear visual style) hacks subsequently used it to obfuscate incompetent action direction and simulate visual intensity and “realism”. I suppose there is some of the later in what Spielberg was doing, but I think guys like Greengrass have come to rely on it as a crutch. I’m with Vern on his point about how it’s strange that Greengrass’ docu-drama scenes have way worse camera work than most actual documentary footage.

  23. I have watched most of the Greengrass films mentioned and I will say this about Captain Phillips: It has the distinction of being the only movie to make me feel sick while watching it. It might have been because I was sitting in the middle of the theatre where the screen just managed to fill my entire sightline. That said,now I know how it feels when people complain the cannot watch shakycam movies.

  24. I still thought the cinematography was crap. You’re in a damn lifeboat. Just point the fucking camera at Tom Hanks!

    Greengrass gets blamed because he’s the one that gets credit when people say he’s GOOD at handheld. Peter Berg was where I really noticed I couldn’t see what was going on,probably in FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. But maybe Greengrass was the first to do it in action movies, like for the entire movie not just a few scenes.

    I thought CAPT PHIL was good. It showed that Captain Phillips was a smart guy who really saved his crew’s lives and outsmarted those pirates. I also thought it dragged once they got on the life raft. The movie is really wrapping up at that point but it has to drag on to be over two hours because over two hours = important. And a little masturbatory to the military too. I mean, I know they nailed that shot but if Michael Bay spent this much time revering them…

    This last Tom Hanks scene everyone keeps raving about, I don’t even remember it so it must not have registered as anything unique. What did he do, run across the country while talking to a volleyball?

    And my two cents on GREEN ZONE is it’s worthless. So sloppy it even goes out of focus in the middle of shots. I’m sorry, no matter how “real” and loose you’re trying to be, you should know what you’re pointing the camera at and keep it in focus.

  25. I should say the siege of the ship, both times actually, are really suspenseful sequences that aren’t hurt by the shakeycam. Sorry to be so bitchy above, but when this came out the defenders were calling anyone who criticized the shakycam reductive. So if I don’t get it, what am I missing?

  26. “I should say the siege of the ship, both times actually, are really suspenseful sequences that aren’t hurt by the shakeycam.”

    Fred – that’s a perfect example of my belief that SC should only be used to serve the story, in a sequence where suspense or urgency is required. It should not be the style of the whole damn movie if it’s not needed. The best examples of appropriate use of SC I can think of are Katherine Bigelow’s awesome modern warfare double-hit HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY.

  27. There were definitely people copying SAVING PRIVATE RYAN for a while, but they were easy to spot because they used that handcranking or frame skipping or whatever it is. The BOURNE movies were definitely the model TAKEN and SALT and some of those type of movies were following, so that’s why Greengrass gets blamed. Bay gets blamed for cutting too fast and spinning the camera too much (although Simon West did that style slightly before him I think).

    Anyway I think we can all agree that all of these styles can be terrible in the wrong hands. I think eventually the pendulum will swing the other way towards carefully considered camera movement. (I hope?)

  28. I recently watched Anton Corbijn’s THE AMERICAN. And as you would expect from a celebrated photographer the whole movie was shot in long takes where the action took place in front of the camera. It was just beautiful to watch. So there is hope.

  29. Also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSbbZCZhBss

    Hilarious and insightful interview with Kevin Pollak. I also enjoyed his appearances on the Nerdist podcast. From all appearances, he’s earned his reputation as the nicest guy in Hollywood.

  30. The Original... Paul

    January 11th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Cassidy – that sick feeling was what worried me. I got that with “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. I thought the film was pretty good in many aspects, yet it was damn near unwatchable at my local arts cinema with the small screen. It’s impossible to focus on anything without feeling nauseous.

    Maggie:

    “What I hate, more than the shakycam, though, is when they do micro zooms for no reason other than to piss me off. In, out, in, out, just a little bit more in, now back out. Pick a focal length!”

    Yeah that bugs me as well. The other thing I really hate, though, is what I call the “shakycam walk”, which seems to be becoming more and more popular: a hand-held camera follows a character from behind while they’re walking along, giving you an extremely jerky close-up view of the back of their head (or, worse, as in one scene in “The Lincoln Lawyer” that I remember, their left shoulder.)

    Knox:

    “I’ve said this before, but I really do think we should be careful to not turn our general distaste for shakycam into a kneejerk reaction.”

    I agree with the principle but it’s pretty hard not to do that when I’ve actually been put off from seeing several films (“Captain Phillips” was the latest, but there was a cop movie starring Anna Kendrick that came out earlier this year that I deliberately avoided because I could only see it at the arts cinema, the same one that I mentioned earlier. There’ve been others as well.) Honestly it’s worse than that time, years back, where you basically couldn’t see a single film without at least 40% of the shots in it being “dramatic slo-mo”, giving the impression that the whole film was being played at half-speed. (I blame John Woo for this.) At least that period was mercifully brief. This shakycam business has been going on for years now.

  31. Shakycam works better on TV than on theatre.

    Vern, I think you will like Green Zone. It’s certainly not *more* incomprehensible than any of the Bourne movies.

    Greengrass uses shakycam and fast editing, BUT his action scenes are also very well written and sometimes brilliantly choreographed. With real human drama in them.

    Michael Bay actually uses less shakycam, and slightly less fast editing, than Greengrass. BUT his action scenes are usually poorly written, and poorly choreographed. Often with no kind of understandable human stakes. That’s why they can feel like just random, incomprehensible noise. You have nothing you could hang on to, except for an occasional slow-mo SFX shot.

    Spielberg sometimes uses shakycam, but his editing is much slower. And his action scenes are often very well written, always have very real human drama, and they are always brilliantly coreographed.

    By far the shittiest, most incomprehensible “shakycam” action scenes of all time are in Quantum Of Solace. The problem isn’t with shaking cameras, the film actually has good camerawork. The problem is that the action is cut faster than in any other Hollywood movie, ever. It’s perfectly normal to see shots lasting for only 4-8 frames. Everything becomes a blurry, confusing mess. Even crucially important plot moments in the action scenes are easy to miss, when you’re given a single 6-frame shot for the moment, and you just don’t have enough time to understand what is happening.

  32. GREEN ZONE is okay. The shakycam isn’t that bad, really, but it’s so fuckin’ dark in the last half of the movie that you can’t really see anything anyway. You get the gist, though. The bigger problem is that you got this whole made-up plot to get us to the big climax where we learn that there were no WMDs in Iraq, which, I don’t know, maybe that’s a real scoop for coma victims or dudes who just got back from a 15-year space mission. It’s not like this is the true story of how it all really went down or anything. It’s just a piece of fiction that treats a piece of recent history that everyone already knows about like it’s “Luke, I am your father.” Kinda takes the wind out the plot’s sails. But I’ve seen worse movies. It was a decent action-thriller type deal if you don’t think about it too hard. I’d be interested in your take on it, Vern.

  33. But Darren, I only said shakycam didn’t ruin the sequences. It didn’t enhance them. At all. Tolerable is not really an ambitious goal.

    Pegsman, I loved THE AMERICAN.

    Tuuka, you’re right, it’s more manageable on TV, probably because they don’t edit as much. It’s just a way to work fast and cheap, to get more out of a week-long production than if you set up complex shots. I guess I’ll stop defending QUANTUM OF SOLACE at this point. :)

    Maggie and Paul, it’s those micro zooms that really give away the sloppiness of shakycam. If you want to use handheld deliberately, you should still know your focal length, as you say. There’s NO excuse for adjusting on the fly.

  34. I’m waiting for the DVD on this one specifically because of the shakycam. The Bourne Supremacy was the first film that made me nauseous in a theater, and I haven’t watched a Greengrass film in theaters since. I’m also really tired of all the terrible handheld camera work that afflicts even non-action films now–Les Mis, Hunger Games, even goddamn Dallas Buyers Club–why is the camera moving all over the place when people are sitting in a restaurant, talking? I think we need to expand the ACR system beyond action films, at this point.

  35. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for shakycam. It’s never my preferred approach (being a big fan of the naturally fluid camerawork of guys like Malick and Refn), but I never really struggle to comprehend what’s happening, even during Quantum of Solace. I remember the Dogme ’95 days (those were fun) and how my friends would complain about getting nauseous watching Breaking The Waves or Festen or Dancer in the Dark (not technically a Dogme ’95 movie, but whatever). I didn’t really get what they were complaining about.

    Hunger Games, much as I like it, was probably the first film where I thought “What the fuck?”. It’s like they were going out of their way to jeopardize the film. The sequel is a huge improvement, though.

  36. My problem with Bay is that he has – and uses – all the classic equipment (tripods, steadicam, tracks, jibs, dollys) but then edits it together in such a way as to make it unintelligible. For all that’s leveled against him, Greengrass follows his stylistic notions through to the end. He’s working with handheld cameras, but frames and edits with them in mind.

  37. Barkhad Abdi is back….headlining the next Judd Apatow movie??

    Add in Amy Schumer, indie darling Brie Larson, SNL vets Bill Hader and Vanessa Bayer, We Need to Talk About Kevin’s Tilda Swinton AND Ezra Miller(!) and John Cena(!!) and this may be the first Apatow joint I’d actually like to see break the 3 hour mark.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3152624/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

  38. I thought this was pretty good. It’s the most I’ve ever been invested in a Greengrass film. Probly due to Hanks’ performance, which really blindsided me towards the end. The only minor complaint I have is the car ride on the way to the airport with Tom and his wife at the start of the film where they’re conversing about the changing state of the world and their kid’s school grades and how are they gonna make it in the new world with all this terrible stuff? and etc etc. It seemed overly-scripted and a bit on the nose. The filmmakers were obviously establishing the political climate that we were about to enter as the ship gets hijacked, I get that, but it just came off as maybe a bit portentous, and really convenient for the story. That’s all. No big deal. Pretty good film but.

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