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Captain Phillips/ Neil Rosen

There are 2 ways to look at Captain Phillips. The first is its a slick film with a well known capable lead in Tom Hanks and a fast moving representation of a true story. This is the one that most critics and certainly the audience adopt. I prefer the second and less fashionable one,namely that it is a film typical of modern American cinema built around the box office and to achieve expectations by casting from a handful of actors that always attract an audience and back it up by promoting American values in an uncivilised world.These values are represented by Captain Phillips, hard working , courageous family man, protective of his crew, resourceful under attack unlike the wild eyed lawless Somali pirates storming his boat. Add to this that a Danish film about a hijacking Kapringen has already been made which was more tense as it focused more on the negotiations than a confrontation between a US destroyer and the Seals taking out 5 Somali pirates one of them barefoot. At one stage the contest was so one sided that I almost find myself siding with the pirates as in Dog Day Afternoon when hapless bank robber Al Pacino elicited the support of the audience.

Captain Phillips is always watchable and though too long at over 2 hours generally maintains the pace. The first half when the cargo boat is stormed is better than the second when Captain Philips is held captive in the lifeboat. One wonders if the Americans are so clever way the boat has more defence than releasing jets of water at the oncoming pirate boat given it was in dangerous waters. It also seems to take an age to deal with the pirates in the lifeboat . The constant use of techno gizmos illustrated the superiority the Americans held in surveillance and weaponry. Thus the film reinforced my dislike of most of the films America now produces with its over patriotic values and the rejigging of the same old, same old actors in different roles . I find it hard to believe that the same country produced a Woody Allen who writes and directs his own movies and offers a far more insightful view into the country through his films and draws much more nuanced performances from the cast in 90 minutes.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts