CAP­TAIN PHILLIPS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Now show­ing at State Cin­ema Now show­ing at State Cin­ema

TTom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi

Paul Green­grass

Stars: Di­rec­tor:

HE best movie dra­mas based on re­al­life events can make you for­get the es­tab­lished facts and sim­ply feel the mo­ment at hand.

Such is the case with Cap­tain Phillips, a grip­ping ac­count of the 2009 hi­jack­ing of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama by So­mali pi­rates.

The tak­ing of the Maersk Alabama was the first at­tack of its kind on a civil­ian US ves­sel in more than two cen­turies.

Four armed So­ma­lis in an an­cient speed­boat were able to cap­ture a mod­ern ship about 2000 times the size and weight of their own craft. An im­pres­sive feat, even al­low­ing for its crim­i­nal na­ture.

Di­rec­tor Paul Green­grass ( United 93) and screen­writer Billy Ray take a deep- fo­cus, in­ves­tiga­tive tack with this com­pelling story.

We learn what drives the av­er­age So­mali pi­rate to take such dan­ger­ous mea­sures on the high seas.

We wit­ness the day- to- day op­er­a­tions of a typ­i­cal cargo liner. Due to mea­gre re­sources and skeleton staffing lev­els, th­ese mega­ships have be­come sit­ting ducks for mar­itime mer­ce­nar­ies all over the world.

Most im­por­tantly of all, we are joined at the hip through­out the or­deal to Cap­tain Richard Phillips ( mas­ter­fully played by Tom Hanks).

His de­fence against the im­pend­ing as­sault on the Alabama is as clever ( fak­ing the au­tho­ri­sa­tion of a mil­i­tary air strike against the So­ma­lis over a two- way ra­dio) as it is doomed ( the ship’s high- pres­sure hoses are a laugh­able de­ter­rent to the pi­rates).

While Phillips is able to shield a sur­pris­ing num­ber of his crew from di­rect con­tact with the pi­rates, the threat to his own life es­ca­lates by the hour.

By the time the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary fi­nally ar­rives on the scene, Phillips is a hostage in­side a mo­torised lifeboat cap­sule mak­ing a bee­line to­wards the So­mali coast.

Even in the fi­nal hours of his hor­ren­dous ex­pe­ri­ence cooped up in a con­fined space with his in­creas­ingly des­per­ate cap­tors, Phillips is still try­ing out lit­tle ideas that might avert a big tragedy.

For some view­ers, be­ing put through an emo­tional wringer in such a nerve- fraz­zling HERE is a sub­lime ex­am­ple of how to mag­i­cally trans­form the fa­mil­iar into the orig­i­nal. Span­ish film­maker Pablo Berger takes the fa­mous fairy tale Snow White, and gives it a retro re­boot that kicks some ma­jorly in­no­va­tive goals. While Blan­canieves will be com­pared by many to re­cent Os­car- win­ner The Artist – yep, it’s a black- and- white silent – the two share about as much in com­mon as a pan­ther and a panda. Even when drag­ging his au­di­ence into the darker re­cesses of the story first penned by the Brothers Grimm, Berger never lets the heady mo­men­tum drop. Nor is Blan­canieves un­afraid to re­write or to­tally shred the source text as it sees fit. Lovers of film tech­nique are go­ing to be knocked out by the edit­ing, cin­e­matog­ra­phy and 1920s set de­signs on dis­play. A fla­menco- in­flu­enced mu­si­cal score swells with sounds for sore ears. fash­ion for more than two hours will make lit­tle ap­peal.

Fair enough. Nev­er­the­less, true sto­ries on film rarely rise to the high stan­dard achieved by the film­mak­ers here.

The same ac­co­lades must be given to Tom Hanks for his cen­tred, un­fail­ingly cred­i­ble and nu­anced per­for­mance in the ti­tle role.

His in­cred­i­ble work in the very fi­nal scene of Cap­tain Phillips is some of the finest act­ing you will ever see.

Now show­ing at Vil­lage and State cine­mas

THE long- awaited movie de­but of a Bri­tish TV char­ac­ter revered by com­edy con­nois­seurs all over the globe. Alan Par­tridge ( played by Steve Coogan) is a washed- up talk- show host now mak­ing ends meet on a low- rat­ing ra­dio sta­tion. When a fel­low DJ is sacked by man­age­ment and takes the en­tire sta­tion hostage, the bit­ter, twisted and supremely self- serv­ing Par­tridge is the only per­son the cops and the crook will trust. A big mis­take for both par­ties. Per­haps best ap­pre­ci­ated if you have al­ready had some ex­po­sure to the unique ab­sur­dity of all things Alan Par­tridge. The hu­mour can plunge to dark depths very quickly if you’re not on your guard. So have your wits about you, and be pre­pared to laugh hard and of­ten. Some­times against your bet­ter judg­ment.

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