Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips

(2013)

Out here, survival is everything.

Tom Hanks plays Richard Phillips, a real-life cargo ship captain whose ship was taken hostage by Somali pirates during the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009. Catherine Keener plays Phillips' wife. From director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93), based on Phillips' memoir of his experiences.... More

Headed to Mombasa, Kenya, the crew of the Alabama come into contact with a small group of Somali pirates. Under the command of Phillips, the cargo ship avoids all but one boat, allowing four young Somali men to board the vessel. But when the hijackers struggle to round up the rest of the crew, Captain Phillips and the overwhelmed pirates are forced into a dangerous compromise that draws the full attention of the U.S. navy.Hide

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Flicks Review

“Roller-coaster ride” may be a cliché but it’s well deserved by this superb action thriller - only the roller-coaster’s at sea. As in United 93 and his two Bourne movies, director Paul Greengrass ratchets up the tension with Hitchcockian skill. Taking the true tale of the 2009 hijacking of cargo ship Maersk Alabama by just four Somali pirates, Greengrass spins it into riveting entertainment. Think The Hurt Locker - with waves.... More

Pirates of the Caribbean this ain’t, but Captain Phillips has heart, and that heart owes oodles to Tom Hanks as Phillips. Beginning quietly, as a no-nonsense all-work-no-play kinda guy, he is put through the grinder, pressuring his cool calm exterior and leading to a claustrophobic climax in which Hanks delivers one of his best performances in years. The daunting task of going up against Hanks in top form falls to newcomer Barkhad Abdi. He's a revelation as Muse, the decent Somali fisherman turned pirate, portrayed as a real flesh n’ blood human, rather than a two-dimensional baddie.

The stunning documentary-style cinematography and top-notch editing deliver heart-pounding drama, on a par with last year’s nail-bitingly good Danish tale of Somali pirates, A Hijacking. But there are wee niggles. Catherine Keener as Phillips’s landlubber wife has just one scene and the relative lack of backstory for Hanks’ everyman hero, and the pirates, means there’s less emotional connect than some might expect. But these are minor quibbles in a movie that delivers top-notch thrills, spills and chills in an intense, grim, ripped-from-reality tale of two captains from disparate worlds clashing on the high seas.

Coupled with Gravity, movies like this remind cynical critics like me just how darn well crafted and entertaining cinema can be.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 7 ratings, 7 reviews
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BY thorinoak superstar

Absolutely and utterly superb. Tom Hanks is an acting phenomena to behold and this film is a white knuckle ride right to the last scene.


BY Coraliee superstar

Sat on the edge of my seat the entire film. Amazing performance by Tom, can't imagine any other actor that could have pulled it off so brilliantly. Will definately watch this one again.


BY Red superstar

Director Paul Greengrass must be the best thriller director around at the moment - United 93, the third Bourne film and this are all consistently white-knuckle rides. So tense, and it builds and builds. A superb night at the movies.


BY Brian1 superstar

he returns to the sea. A true seaman/captain.
What a film, it is certainly a "don't miss this one" in my book.


BY Weds_Loafers superstar

Well, 9 of us saw this movie and our average score rates just above 4. It is the incredibly well depicted story of pirates capturing the Maersk Alabama off the cost of Somalia in 2009, taking its captain hostage and his subsequent rescue by navy SEALs. But the movie goes much deeper than that and into the psyche of the pirate boss as well as allowing Tom Hanks to play one of his greatest characters. The suspense is gripping even though the outcome is l known. We all felt that the movie... More could have done with 10 - 15 minutes being cut but, for all that, it's well worth going to.Hide


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The Press Reviews

94% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Captain Phillips could have stopped at simply depicting what happened; it’s the steps it takes to examining why it happened that make it extraordinary. Full Review

  • Both Greengrass and Hanks are on award-deserving form in a riveting, emotionally complex and hugely intelligent dramatisation of a real-life ordeal. Full Review

  • This a quasi-war movie set in peacetime; these men are fighting to the death, but not for nation or principle or ideology — or at least, not a conscious ideology: they are caught in larger economic currents. Full Review

  • The film rips right along and never relinquishes its grip. Full Review

  • Director Paul Greengrass remains a genius of claustrophobia, yet his better films — "Bloody Sunday," "United 93" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" — all beat with a stronger sense of central identification. He doesn’t have as much to work with this time, and his solution is to slow down the pace. The result is more clarity, but also more monotony. Full Review

  • There is something too dry and austere about Greengrass and Ray’s telescoped vision, which touches only fleetingly on the pirates’ motives, the suffering of the Somali people and the collateral damage of global capitalism. Full Review

  • There's something so unforced about him that it can seem as if he's not delivering a performance, just being Tom Hanks. Full Review

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