Where does drama begin?
I'll take Aeschylus' extraordinary, seminal, trilogy "Oresteia" of 485 BC as a good starting place.
At one point Agamemnon, fresh from heroically liberating Helen from Troy, is invitingly thrown a red carpet by his wife, as he enters his home after more than ten years of absence fighting a brutal war.
There's a catch. This red carpet represents both a right royal welcome and, metaphorically, a river of crimson blood, because the all-conquering king walks up it, into his home, and immediately comes to a visceral, messy, untidy, awkward, ignoble, bloody death at the hands of Clytemnestra, his wife.
How many movie stars have walked the Red Carpet to a Gala Premiere wondering, (and in some cases knowing), whether they'll exit a Somebody or a nobody?
What does it feel like to walk the line of baying fans, bright lights, critics and cameras?
No book launch, TV show or musical gets treatment such as this. It's a cinema-only moment.
No other artistic celebration is quite as glitzy and magisterial, and, maybe, nerve-wracking, as the Red Carpet rolled out for movie stars, starlets and studios, and the Gala Premiere of British director Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips was no different.
I walked the carpet an unkown, and slid into the cinema slightly small and self-conscious as all around me cameras popped and flashed and press and fans screamed for Tom, Tom, Tom.
Tom Hanks walked the carpet confidently to open the BFI London Film Festival. He will also close it with his other movie in the show, Saving Mr. Banks. Hanks bestrides this Festival like a movie superstar colossus.
The Odeon Leicester Square buzzed with excitement and anticipation. It was dripping with glamour and bubbly. It was pumped with the muscle and message of serious security.
This was a BIG event.
It reminded me. Cinema is a BIG deal.
I'm not going to "review" Captain Phillips. The professionals have already been at work.
But let me say this.
I thought it a five star wonder.
The true wonder came right at the very end, in the final few minutes.
Don't worry; there is no spoiler alert here.
The movie ends with a dramatic surprise. "Some of the final moments were so realistically tense that I found them difficult to watch", said a reviewer for The Washington Post. Another, for the same same paper wrote: "a devastating final scene in which Hanks single-handedly dismantles Hollywood notions of macho heroism in one shattering, virtually wordless sequence".
No twist, no shock, no surprise. No horror, no slap-you-in-the-face-Carrie-seat-shaker. There is blood, but, "it's the kind of blood that most movies avoid and that, Mr. Greengrass suggests, is what remains unseen in global traumas like this", explains the New York Times.
No Hollywood bluster here, just a 180 degree flip of emotion that is so intense, so dramatic it struck the Gala audience dead dumb. It took us all a few moments to compose ourselves. Eventually a ripple of clapping rose to a natural crescendo of huge, genuine, massive applause.
All the credit for this goes to Tom Hanks an actor who has always played grounded characters.
In Captain Phillips, his grounded character is all at sea.
Hanks takes cinema somewhere completely new. The power of his performance is truly "grand cinematic" and "personal intense" at the same time. It is a game changer for big action movies.
Whether he wins the Oscar or not, after this movie his Red Carpets in the future hold little intimidation.
It reminded me of why I go to the movies.
Pirate as much as you like. Watch all the TV you like. Huddle round your Home Movie LCD Surroundsound.
Nothing beats the cinema.