“the hot sweaty powder keg of an environment in which Captain Phillips is held hostage will have you gritting your teeth and longing for a strong cold alcoholic beverage by the end of the film.”
Captain Phillips Review
By Simon Jago
Captain Phillips (2013)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Addirahman, Catherine Keener, John Magaro
Director(s): Paul Greengrass
Screenwriter(s): Billy Ray
Running Time: 131 mins
Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, Paul Greengrass brings this gritty tale of suspense to the big screen with the aid of leading man Tom Hanks.
Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) sets off on a job to deliver a cargo freighter from from the Port of Salalah in Oman to Mombasa. It becomes clear he has a bad feeling about this job and he has every right to as it soon becomes clear his cargo ship is the prime target for a group of Somali pirates.
I think it is important to realise that even though the film is sold on award winning Tom Hanks as the titles namesake, all the acting in the movie is outstanding! Paul Greengrass takes the approach to show both sides of the story from Captain Phillips embarking on his job to deliver the cargo to the origins of the Somali pirates and their need to resort to piracy. Barkhad Abdi who plays the lead pirate ‘Muse’ is fantastic and although you want to hate his character for what he puts Phillips through, you almost sympathise with his desperate struggle in life just to put food on the table. The power play between Abdi and Hanks is extremely well played out and at times it’s hard to distinguish who is the critically acclaimed actor and who is the unknown.
The tension in this film reaches fever pitch and the hot sweaty powder keg of an environment in which Captain Phillips is held hostage will have you gritting your teeth and longing for a strong cold alcoholic beverage by the end of the film. The action sequences are full of suspense and the budget to use actual US navy ships accompanied with helicopters, paratroopers the lot, as oppose to the cheap CGI counterparts we are so used to seeing these days gives the film a real authentic feel.
Captain Phillips is what it is, a based on a true story hostage situation. It has a very fly on the wall realist style which I can only assume does a good job at telling the original story. Obviously Hollywood has sprinkled its mainstream salt and pepper into the mix and probably bent the truth a little but that doesn’t mean it spoils the overall flavour of the film. I’d say this is definitely worth a watch, even if like myself you’ never heard of the actual event.