Film Review “Captain Phillips”

captain-phillips-posterStarring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Directed By: Paul Greengrass
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 14 mins
Sony Pictures

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

From the director of “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ulitmatum” and the writer of “Flight Plan” and “The Hunger Games”; Tom Hanks stars as “Captain Phillips,” the true story about an American captain and his crew being hijacked by Somali Pirates off the coast of Africa in 2009.

While carrying supplies and food for poverty stricken villages in Somalia and Kenya, The Maersk Alabama became the first American ship in 200 years to be hijacked by pirates. The story follows Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and the pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), from the hijacking of the Alabama to the capture of the pirates and escape of captain and crew. We are introduced to the world of the Somali pirates, their planning (or lack there of) and their successful taking over of ships with just a small row boat with a motor. Because the Alabama was a freight carrier with a tall hull, the thinking on board was that there was little to no chance of the ship being hijacked. Which means the crew is less than prepared for the struggles they endure and are rendered helpless when their captain and leader is taken hostage by four pirates in a small covered life boat.

This story was broadcast all over the news in 2009 and captivated much of America at the time. Here we see the story that wasn’t presented on the news; the communication between Phillips and the pirates; the struggle of isolation and not knowing. The film also takes you into the chase by the US Navy and the attempted rescues that take place.

In my opinion the film ran a little too long. If you’re familiar with the story and the outcome before watching the movie you’ll find yourself sitting there for the last 30 mins just waiting for the end. However, if you have no recollection of the incident, as surprisingly some people around me in the theatre weren’t, it is a suspenseful ride throughout. This film is about courage, trust, and determination and you see it at both sides of the spectrum. Tom Hanks is, well, Tom Hanks; you know he is going to deliver in any role he takes on. But it’s the crew of pirates that really make the film and truly build the story. First time actors Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdrahman, Faysal Ambed, and Mahat Ali all deliver performances that are so genuine, intimidating and sometimes frightening, it made me wonder if they were actors or the real deal!

I wouldn’t say this is a must see in the theaters but this film IS a must see. I have no doubts that Hanks, Paul Greengrass and the film itself will be recognized during award season.

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