Gravity and Captain Phillips

I watched two films yesterday, one in the morning, followed by a big nap and one in the evening.

Some spoilers follow.

See both, if you have time like I do.

If you can only watch one, then watch Gravity. If you cannot watch any, but have 45 minutes to spare, watch first half of Gravity.

Gravity is directed by Alfonso Cuaron whose Y Tu Mama Tambien was something that I really enjoyed. Gravity as a thriller is top-notch. The spectacular film making is breath taking. The shots of the earth from around 600KM in the sky, with the 3D technology, make you feel that you are in space. And when tragedy strikes, you really feel lost in space, helpless, hopeless and desperate – all this in the first 45 minutes. My fists were clenched tight and I only relaxed at the intermission. Second half is about survival. Much more mainstream. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are very very good. But I have to say Stanley Kubrick, you still rule the genre with your masterpiece.

Captain Phillips is based on real life story. We have recently watched two fantastic thrillers – Zero Dark Thirty and Argo based on real life events. This is based on Somali pirates and their hijacking of an American cargo ship. Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips, the captain of the ship. For some reason the movie did not work. It was set on the ocean but I think the film-maker missed an opportunity of shooting the ocean in an exciting manner. The movie was tense to a certain extent but in the end you really did not care for the characters on the screen – unfortunately you did not care about both the good and the bad, the hero and the villain, the Americans and the Somali pirates. Paul Greengrass is not a director who I have enjoyed in general – Green Zone, United 93 were ho-hum. Even the subsequent Bourne films he directed were not as good as the first one. Tom Hanks seems dis-interested, maybe real Captain Phillips was like that, but does not make for an exciting movie. This movie made me realize that to make an exciting film out of real life incident is not easy.

After the two movie experience, I have decided that I will not go into space and I will not go on an ocean cruise. We are too small and insignificant compared to the vastness of space and the oceans to be noticed and found, if you get lost.

I am happy being stuck in traffic. I cannot get lost.

About the Author: Ashwini Mathur is a resident of Hyderabad. In the past he has worked at GSK Pharmaceuticals as a Senior General Manager and at Novartis after that. He has a Master’s degree in Mathematics from IIT Delhi, a PhD in bio-statistics from University and College Berkeley, California and an executive MBA from IIM Bangalore.

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