Captain Phillips

The pirate infested waters off the coast of Somalia have been and continue to be the focus of much media attention with the kidnapping of civilians and hijacking of merchant ships by Somali warlords, who force desperate local gangs of fishermen to board unsuspecting vessels and hold them at gun point until their ransom demands are met.

In 2011 there were 176 confirmed piracy attacks in the region. Captain Phillips is based on the true story of Richard Phillips, an experienced and competent captain of an American cargo ship being pursued by ruthless gun-toting pirates in 2009, desperately intent on seizing the biggest potential payload ever attempted.

Paul Greengrass puts us right in the middle of the crisis as we follow armed coastal fishing villagers out to sea and witness their strategic attempts to hijack vulnerable ships, taking us deep into the mindset of the pirates. 

One of the most visually exciting directors of our time, known for pushing the envelope of authenticity and creating some of the most realistic action films of recent years, Paul Greengrass has kept us in thrall and in the tight grip of his ever probing camera with crisis films like Bloody Sunday (2002), United 93 (2006), Green Zone (2010) and the best of the Bourne films The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). 

After taking control of the ship, the hijackers take the crew hostage and make for the Somali coastline to secure their booty, but when the American navy gets wind of the attack they set a bold plan into action and the race is on to rescue the crew before they can reach their destination.

Two things are for sure, Paul Greengrass can’t make a bad movie and Tom Hanks is one of the most dedicated actors when it comes to authentic details. Together they make an unbeatable team the likes of which we haven’t seen since Tom paired with Ron Howard to make Apollo 13 (1995), or Paul Greengrass paired with Matt Damon in the Bourne series.

As the Navy closes in on the pirates who are making for their home base, the captain offers himself up as hostage in exchange for the lives of his crew members. But the question remains, how can the pirates be successfully eliminated without risking the life of Captain Phillips? The captain and crew however have some tricks up their own sleeves to foil their captors. But they must work together if they are to survive this ordeal.

Tom Hanks is known for keeping it real and giving a sincere true-to-life performance by closely collaborating with the actual people involved with the events of the film. His passion and admiration for the astronauts of Apollo 13 produced one of the most accurate film portrayals of an iconic world renowned event with dialogue and events recreated from actual NASA mission footage.

As educational as it is suspenseful to watch, it’s no surprise that under the direction of these towering talents Captain Phillips succeeds in bringing the full scale of these harrowing events to life with genuine emotional impact. 

Also watch the excellent Danish film A Hijacking (2012) which was also released last year and tells the true story of a pirate hijacking of a Danish cargo ship. 



Beth said...

I am looking forward to seeing "Captain Phillips. Tom Hanks is so good at becoming the person he portrays and your article has assured me that this is true once again in this film.

jacquie said...

Looking for it on Pay Per View. I haven't any friends who have seen it, so I appreciate the review!

bindu saju said...

I have seen Tom Hanks in Appolo 13. He is a great actor. Your review makes me want to watch it

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to watching this film. Good review, therefore, I'll see it with my wife. Blessings.

JeriWB said...

Just stopping by from BHB group. I still catch your posts from time to time, but can't remember the last time I saw you around my blog ;)

Sharon Purvis said...

Wondering what your thoughts are on the lack of a best actor nomination for Tom Hanks. I haven't seen the film, but from what I've heard about it (including your review), that's a bit of a surprise that he's not among the nominees.

JP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JP said...

Thank you Sharon for taking the time to drop by. I agree with you, it is a bit of a surprise but the competition this year is extremely tough and Tom's performance in Captain Phillips is perfectly understated and practical which is exactly what this role required. It's not the type of role that gets the kind of attention of more showy flamboyant roles like in American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club or The Wolf of Wall Street.

Kathy Crowley-Gardner said...

I saw the film on Pay Per View. As you stated, the director takes us into the mindset of the pirates, and the film feels very real. Hanks' best moment in my opinion was the very last scene. The acting was excellent and it was exciting. Your review is spot on, again. Thanks.