“Captain Phillips” and an Important Programming Note

I’ve got a new post up at Movie Mezzanine this morning. You’ve probably noticed that I’m publishing more and more of my articles at other sites – and fewer here at my blog. This is a trend that I hope will continue; as much as I value having this space, I always appreciate having my work seen by more people.

Up until now, I’ve been linking to all my outside articles here at the blog, but I won’t be doing as much of that in the future. From now on, this will be a space for blog posts that don’t really fit anywhere else.  I’ll publish here a little less frequently, but I promise to still save some good content for this space, so please don’t unfollow or remove me from your bookmarks. I’ll still be here.

If you’d like to keep up with all of my work, I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And please regularly check out the film writing – not just mine -at The Atlantic, Washington City Paper, Movie Mezzanine, and Film School Rejects.

Here is an excerpt from my new piece on Captain Phillips:

It is easy to see how another director could have crafted a more militaristic film from these parts. Captain Phillips is at heart a thrilling survival story in which the U.S. Navy saves the day. After a tense cat-and-mouse game aboard the ship, the pirates escape in a covered lifeboat, with Phillips as their hostage. Their plan is to bring him back to Somalia and get the insurance company to pay a ransom, but soon the Navy arrives, and the pirates’ fate is sealed.

The second half of the film is a long, slow build to its inevitably heart-stopping conclusion. Greengrass knows how to end a film with a bang – watch United 93 again if you need convincing – but it is Hanks’s performance in the final scenes that make the film’s case for empathy. After his rescue, he fights back tears – and eventually releases them – but you’re not quite sure whom he is crying for. Is it himself? Is it his family, who he realizes have been put through hell waiting to hear of his fate? Or is he crying for his captors, all of whom are by that point dead or soon to be imprisoned? The film’s major accomplishment is that it convinces us that the pirates are worth our tears.

You can read the entire article here. My most sincere thanks to those of you who have supported and followed my work in this space. A special thanks to those who have joined the conversation. I hope we can continue it here and elsewhere.

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