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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Captain Phillips

October 16th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Captain Phillips (12)
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi & Barkhad Abdirahman
Running time: 134 min

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Captain Phillips and his crew are taking their cargo vessel round the horn of Africa to dock in Mombasa. However, their course takes them into dangerous waters; waters that are frequented by various Somali pirate fractions, and it isn’t long before Captain Phillips’ and his crew’s worst nightmares come true; they come under attack from armed invaders.

With his ship, his crew and his very life hanging in the balance, Captain Phillips uses his cunning and calm demeanour to try and resolve a very tense and life-threatening invasion of his ship. But the invaders are no novices, and in no time at all lives are threatened. Can Captain Phillips save his crew and his own life before the patience of the pirates runs out?

Captain Phillips, based on the true story and novel A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea (written by Captain Richard Phillips himself), is a daring adventure and thriller, made all the more potent by Director Paul Grenngrass’ direction and attention to realism and detail.

The cast are superb; however Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Captain Phillips is certainly worthy of award praise as we see his character go through a physical and emotional rollercoaster nightmare of events. His performance of the title character engages the audience such that you literally feel every blow and success dealt to him.

The script is very tight in that the crews, pirates and captives alike, deliver ensemble performances with realistic dialogue. Even the false re-assurances from the pirate leader Muse (Abdi) are especially chilling when delivered in his broken English accent.

The photography on board the various vessels leaves the viewer in no doubt as to the conditions the real life participants faced. With hand held cams used virtually throughout the entire picture, the audience literally feels every wave and bump in the ocean and bullet fired.

This is not an action rescue film inspired by the Chuck Norris Delta Force films; this is a very intelligent “told as it happened” edge of the seat thriller with great performances and superb direction – a must sea!

4 out of 5 Nerds

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.