This week Andrew, Kyle, and Ryan will be discussing the one scene from each of the films that they feel clenched their nomination for the Best Picture Oscar. *Some spoilers to follow*It must be a good year when neither Tom Hanks nor Paul Greengrass are nominated for Oscars because their work together at the end of Captain Phillips were some of the most powerful and heart wrenching moments of the year. A movie that is 90% tension and action ends not with a bang but with a scene that shows how this whole ordeal would affect a normal human being.
Paul Greengrass has been making action thrillers for over a decade that are visceral but yet effective. His style has tried to be copied (especially his Bourne work) by many directors and films but ultimately always end of failing. There is only one Greengrass and his style works because he both makes it feel real and never forgets about the characters. In Captain Phillips, the pirates could have easily been seen cardboard characters because for most of the first world they look different and act different than us and that is seen as scary by many. Yet, Greengrass humanizes these pirates for the most part and shows us that they are people that are making bad decisions but aren’t necessarily the monster under the bed.
While most of the movie is spent watching Tom Hanks as the captain trying to keep his crew and escape from these pirates, it also spends time fleshing out the main pirate’s plight and he is brought to life with a wonderful performance by Barkhad Abdi. While the movie is tense and works as a thriller, the scene that put the movie over the top for me was after the pirates are taken care of by the Navy Seals. The captain has been saved and is being tended by the US armed forces when he breaks down.
Tom Hanks probably puts in some of the best five minutes of acting in his career at this time when he goes from confusion (he is still blindfolded and doesn’t know what happened) to repulsion because of the bloodshed, to being grateful he survived to finally letting out all the emotions that he had pent up through this ordeal. Many films end with the hero walking away from the carnage with a quip and a nonchalant look back at all that transpired. Hanks and Greengrass again show that this was true life and not a Stallone film by letting Hanks have those moments of true emotion, where he just didn’t have the power or will to hold it back anymore.
The site of Hanks covered in other people’s blood trying to get a grasp on a horrifying situation really got to me. Although the whole movie was performed and directed wonderfully, the end after all the action is over is what made it an awards contender. Ending a movie on a strong note is never an easy task and I believe that the end of Captain Phillips ended in a way that the end will be remembered for years to come.