The Los Angeles premiere of Paul Greengrass‘s Captain Phillips (Sony, 10.11) happened last night at the Academy. The film played the same for me — workmanlike verisimiltude, scrupulous realism, Greengrass + Barry Aykroyd dazzle-cam — but it was different with a large crowd than with six or seven critics in Manhattan’s Sony screening room a few weeks ago. This time when the big climactic moment happened the audience cheered — drop those Somali bastards! (It’s so rare in life when tense situations are resolved with such bracing finality. Wouldn’t it be great if the Republican wackos who’ve shut down the government…I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.) The true-life story could be subtitled “The Little Hijacking That Never Had A Chance” or “Four Fleas on the High Seas” but the expert chops speak for themselves. Ditto Hanks’ cathartic meltdown at the end — easily his best performance since Cast Away. The real-life Richard Phillips (the titular character played by Tom Hanks) appeared on the big-screen via Skype before the film began as Greengrass, Hanks and costars Barkhad Abdi, Mahat Ali and Faysal Ahmed took bows.
(l to. r.) Captain Phillips costars Mahat Ali, Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed and Tom Hanks.
The real-deal Richard Phillips as he appeared last night at the Academy theatre screen prior to the showing of Captain Phillips.
I’m down with the Minnesota-residing Barkhad Abdi, who plays the top-dog Somali pirate Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse in Captain Phillips, becoming a Best Supporting Actor Oscar contender. At the very least to round out the field.
Hanks, Greengrass, Abdi.