“Captain Phillips,” a Patriot’s Movie Review

I’m going to write an article I don’t want to write.  I’m going to review the movie Captain Phillips (2013) Sony Pictures, starring Tom Hanks, PG-13.  But, I’m going to add a twist.  First, I’m going to review the movie from the Leftist’s point of view, because I have the unique experience of having been a dyed-in-the-wool Leftist.  Then, I’ll write a review based on my movie experience from the my point of view today as a patriotic conservative American.

This will not be a movie spoiler.  Go see the movie.  It’s another terrific Tom Hanks movie.  Captain Phillips is about a cargo ship whose captain (Tom Hanks) and crew fend off Somali pirates.

(Oh boy.  Here we go.)

Again, this is a great movie.  The story is unique, the plot compelling, and well told through the eyes of director Paul Greengrass.  The acting was great all around, and at critical moments was so good you just can’t imagine how actors can do that in the face of cameras, studio lights, cumbersome microphones, etc. The cinematography was fine. The script’s dialogue was, unfortunately, not as compelling as the plot and circumstances demanded.  Ok, there’s the official review-y stuff.

From the point of view of a Leftist. 

This is a story about the consequences of globalization.  A poor people, the Somali, victims in a land ravaged by colonization by the western world.   A nation left for dead by unsympathetic wealth, greed, and misallocation of intentions.  A desperate people with no choice left them but to live a dangerous life of piracy.  A David and Goliath story of a people with few resources and fewer choices courageously confronting the giants of western multi-national corporations who march onward with impunity under the watchful protection of the military…  Blah, blah, blah.

My movie experience from the point of view of a patriotic conservative American. 

I was really moved by the movie.  Far more than I expected.  Moved by something I didn’t expect.  In the beginning, we get a short very interesting look into village life of Somali pirates prior to the attack.  The director then gives us a strong sense of vulnerability on the high seas, in spite of the cargo ship’s menacing bulk.  When the piracy attack appears imminent, the captain sends a distress call to the U.S. Navy.  That one call set into motion a series of actions by the United States.

At first we are relieved to see Navy communication officers receiving the distress call.  Just a couple officers doing their jobs.  As the movie proceeds, Capt. Phillip and his crew are in peril.  Finally we see the arrival of one huge slate-gray U.S. Navy ship, the bow piercing the empty surface of the ocean.  A welcome sight.  Yeah, the cavalry has arrived!  At that point, this is all I expected when I stepped into the movie theater. But it didn’t end there.

Now another powerful U.S. Navy ship arrives.  Even bigger.  A carrier.  It was incredible to watch.  Just incredible.  We see more images now, more agencies of the United States responding to Phillips’ distress call.  A dozen Navy seaman at first, then hundreds, then thousands of seaman on the way.  Another U.S. Navy ship arrives.  The great cogs of a great and mighty nation thrown into motion.

As the movie proceeds, Capt. Phillips becomes more isolated.  We come to know Capt. Phillips and the pirates more intimately, their character, their motives.

One can’t help but be moved by the contrast between the evil of the pirates, the evil that holds them in village poverty, their lack of power, technology, and influence, contrasted against the incredible power, influence, technology, know-how, wealth, goodness and honor of the United States of America.  My gosh!  The power of the United States is AMAZING.  I was in awe.  In tears.  We are an incredible nation, by the grace of God.

Each Navy seaman, each negotiator, each Marine, each Navy Seal, none of them alone important, but together they were ALL important.  I felt so patriotic and so grateful as the end of the movie played out, saying to myself, “I love this country more than I love myself.  This country is worth dying for.  The goodness of this country is worth dying for.  I have to keep doing my unimportant part.  This country is more than a country.”


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