Captain Phillips
Year:
2013
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Biography
IMDB rating:
7.9
Director:
Paul Greengrass
Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips
Faysal Ahmed as Najee
Mahat M. Ali as Elmi
Mohamed Ali as Asad
Barkhad Abdi as Muse
Michael Chernus as Shane Murphy
David Warshofsky as Mike Perry
Yul Vazquez as Captain Frank Castellano
Chris Mulkey as John Cronan
Corey Johnson as Ken Quinn
Catherine Keener as Andrea Phillips
Max Martini as SEAL Commander
Storyline: Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is - through director Paul Greengrass's distinctive lens - simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips' unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.
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Reviews
Honest, but dramatically underwhelming,
A zodiac of Somali pirates charges after a cargo freighter, while the captain attempts to keep them at bay with his water cannons, but they manage to get close enough to jump on board.

As the movie progresses it becomes increasingly obvious that the scrawny high jackers are in a pickle. Once the US forces engage them, their only bargaining chip is the captain's life. The pirates have their AK-47's but they never seem managing enough to even consider pulling the trigger. The fact that the pirates speak English is a problem for the movie. A hostage taker is far less intimidating when you can communicate with him. Captain Phillips manages to seem very casual as he gives his captors a tour, and even offers them food from his kitchen.

You can't go wrong with Tom Hanks as the virtuous 'good soldier' who represents American model citizenship wherever he goes. Captain Phillips gets by on his performance, but it's not nearly as thrilling a story as most would have you believe.
2017-07-22
Two Green, One Red.
Captain Phillips starts off on a very interesting note, then somewhere deeper into its voyage, it drops to a resting point. The first hour of this film is gripping, and somewhat tense, however, the last hour is, relatively monotonous.

What plays well into Captain Phillips's hands is that it is a biography, but it being shot almost like a fictional action flick kind of withdraws some much needed emotional attachment and interest, at least to the level that is deserved and necessary.

Performances were satisfactory all around, but, I fear Barkhad Abdi may have gotten an Oscar Nomination for all the wrong reasons, because though his performance was sufficient, it wasn't really Oscar material.

This film hit some areas very well, but sadly missed others, and like the U.S. Navy, it struggled to target all the meaty points as needed; it seemed to have a target on one or two targets at a time, but never that elusive three, so with that said, a 6.6/10 rating would be fitting.
2017-09-02
Greengrass only gets better with each film he makes.
Greengrass is a filmmaker who knows the importance of those thirty minutes. His style of filmmaking is perceptible. He builds his plot tenaciously, layers it thickly with emotion and dramatic tension and lets all hell break loose in the end. Scrap off the top and you'll find a textured plot underneath, neatly done and ready to be utilized for the knockout punch. 'Captain Phillips' is no different.

Being an ardent admirer of 'United 93', you might have already guessed how excited I was for yet another hijack-drama from Greengrass. I was positively stoked. But, you know, the problem was that the movie did not drizzle me with its magic right away. There's a long build-up involved to get the film going, give it its wheels, which details diligently how Captain Richard Phillips treats its crew. He's methodical, unerring and flinty. His crew envies and scorns him, but never doubts him. It's a well-etched character but it did not require the lengthy prologue.

And then, there's someone else who admires Phillips. Abduwali Muse, a young Somali pirate, winds up a crew of his own and strays into the Somali Basin to carry out a hijack. He works for a boss, who needs money, and Muse gets his hands dirty. He's determined, and even when it's a question of life or death, he stays put on his principles. He hijacks Phillips' ship after repeated attempts, and belittles Phillips' offer of thirty grand and a ship back to Somalia. I'm not a beggar, he tells Phillips, and holding the captain hostage, demands a shocking ten million. You've got to admire the courage of the young lad. He's not dangerous, he's even likable to some degree but he's like a ticking bomb that could go off any second. And go off it does.

For more than an hour, we see Phillips' attempts to convince the pirates to end everything peacefully, and to let everybody live in exchange for the thirty grand. The pacing is languid, but the film stays consistently engaging. Maybe the unpredictability of its guileful antagonist helps in keeping the tension palpable. Muse is diffident in his actions, he often turns to Phillips' advice when the Navy SEALS circle the ship, much to his comrades' chagrin.

Greengrass directs with equanimity, the air of a man who knows what he has and what he can do with what he has. He takes his time to set the tone of the film, establish his characters so well that we begin to understand them. We can predict their actions, their words, their thoughts. It's not a slip-up, that's genuinely great filmmaking. I could almost feel the dearth of oxygen when the film entered the thriller mode. Greengrass makes his characters tangible, keeps the plot rife with violent tension. And when the characters splutter dialogues, they vent some of the tension out with them. It's the kind of movie where the dialogues make a difference because they allow you a quick peek into the minds of the characters we have come to know. Shrewd.

But in the film's final thirty minutes, your breathing will grow increasingly ragged. Because knowing Greengrass and knowing what he can achieve with his films' denouements, I stopped trying to predict what's about to unfold. Well, the film was entirely predictable, seeing that it has been adapted from Captain Richard Phillips' autobiography, so it's not a give-away that we know how it'll end, is it? But how it gets there is something that made me stand up and applaud. One of the most unapologetically exciting action sequences I've seen in the recent cluster of films, the final showdown is nothing short of riveting. Skillfully executed, well crafted, acted and scored to perfection, the final moments live up to the kind of film 'Captain Phillips' promised it would be.

It's easy to find fantastic performances from each and every member of the cast in a Paul Greengrass film. And it's not a surprise that Greengrass manages to coax Hanks to give his best performance in years. I've been trying to find a word that effectively describes Hanks in Captain Phillips but every single adjective downplays his performance. I'll settle with brilliant but it's not even close, you know. Barkhad Abdi, a young newbie who plays Abdawali Muse, is equally captivating. Mr. Abdi, I'm your fan already.

The rest of the cast are efficacious in keeping a real sense of urgency at all times, ably backed by a tightly-wound, nifty script from Billy Ray, who relies heavily on words to keep the pace as brisk as possible.

'Captain Phillips' is a marvelous film that definitely ranks as one of the year's finest. A bit indulgent in places and a tad slow for a thriller, but technically sound and terrifically shot by virtuoso cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, it's a vitriolic drama that smothers you with its power but, in its final moments, leaves you moved. Keep a oxygen tank handy.
2014-01-16
A Film Bolstered by Two Key Performances
Director Paul Greengrass has carved out a nice little niche for himself in Hollywood. While occasionally delving into the imaginary trappings of action junkie heaven, the majority of Greengrass's movies are retellings of real life situations. They're movies where action has been imposed on ordinary people instead of the common trope of extraordinary people put in extraordinary situations. They're suspense films that require no suspension of disbelief because they are stories we know. They're uncomfortably topical yet while being as predictable as a Scandal Maker's-type made-for-TV movie, they're also engrossing.

It started with his lukewarm freshman project Resurrected (1989) the true story of a British Soldier during the Falkland Islands War. His predilection with real stories and current events continued with Bloody Sunday (2002), United 93 (2006) and Green Zone (2010) all of which had a contemporary feel about complex problems not yet solved at the time of their respective releases.

In comes Captain Phillips (2013), based on the harrowing adventure of Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and his brush with modern piracy. His journey starts in Oman where he is assigned to deliver cargo to Mombasa. He's aware the horn of Africa is a hotbed for pirate activity and takes every precaution but a scrappy crew of Somali pirates is desperate to make bank and set their sights on his ship, the Maersk Alabama.

Even if I promised no spoilers, I'm guessing you as the reader know how it ends; even if you didn't see it on the news in the spring of 2009. Still, the entire movie hinges on your ability to suspend everything from prior knowledge of the incident to prior knowledge of action-movie mayhem and just go with it. I went with it and found the movie to be thrilling and intense. Much like all of Greengrass's movies, the film was a self-contained hyper-reality that showed its audience exactly what we needed to see and nothing more or less. In the words of Joe Friday, the film gives you "Just the facts ma'am." The film is buoyed by two remarkably different performers playing remarkably different roles. Tom Hanks is arguably the best actor of our generation playing everything from a gay lawyer with AIDS in Philadelphia (1993) to a wise-cracking party animal in Bachelor Party (1984) to a child's plaything in the Toy Story films (1995-2010). Add to that a charming personality and you've got the closest version of a male Meryl Streep as you're willing to find.

In Captain Phillips his heroics didn't come from a special ability or a John McClane-esque capacity to improvise; no his instincts were drilled in him by what looks like years of training. He accepted the reality of pirates approaching his ship and does everything in his power to mitigate whatever damage they're likely to do. Yet what sets the Captain apart from any of Tom Hank's other characters is once he's past the Worst Case Scenario Handbook his mind is always at work yet doesn't know where to go. He's unsure of his actions and tormented at the thought of what the pirates might do to him and his crew. In that sense we see a person who is a hero because he has to be but otherwise is a normal Joe.

Barkhad Abdi's performance as the lead pirate Abduwali Muse is a whole other beast. He plays him with scary realism, a down-and-out Somali with a strong need to prove something to the world. His world-weary face, pigeon-toed introverted mannerisms and surprising physical strength underlines a contemplative mind and desperate cunning. In another life, Muse could have had the craven fortitude and industry to become a successful business leader but due to geography he has to pay his dues by "fishing". Captain Phillips is Abdi's first full-feature experience acting and joins the ranks of Jennifer Hudson, Julie Andrews and Jaye Davidson as a first time Oscar nominee. Before becoming an overnight sensation, Abdi was no joke, a limo driver with little interest in acting; here's to hoping he follows up Captain Phillips with something worthwhile.

As with all Greengrass films, there are some slight third act problems. There's only so much you can do with five men stuck on a lifeboat and Greengrass doesn't have the considerable skills of Hitchcock to keep the energy going. There are some arbitrary images of Seal Team 6 jumping out of an aircraft in darkness and while I understand the principle belligerents in this tale are men couldn't there be more than two female characters? It's a minor sticking point but it's irksome when a talent like Catherine Keener is relegated to one single pointless scene.

There are three reasons why you should watch Captain Phillips and they are the names of Tom Hanks, Paul Greengrass and Barkhad Abdi. Abdi's freshman performance is vibrant and uninhibited and brings to mind the intensity of other first timers like Lou Castel in Fists in the Pocket (1965) and more recently Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). Paul Greengrass's intense, grabbed from the headlines style has served him well over the past decade and Captain Phillips further raises the bar for the action director. Finally, Tom Hanks once again develops a character so real and genuine that it's hard not to admire the actor who got his start in a little seen horror movie called He Knows You're Alone (1980). And I know I'm not alone in my disappointment that Hanks wasn't nominated this year for his stunning performance in Captain Phillips.

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2014-01-30
Like a time machine to the year 2009, you'd be taken.
That went a lot higher than my expectations. I was thinking an okay movie, but that was more than just okay. Truly impressive powerful thriller.

The movie's strength points could be summed up:

1. Greengrass's thrillers are really fine, I like his The Bourne Ultimatum with his shaky camera tricks. And here he is doing it again maybe with different techniques. As a thriller, Greengrass managed to make this movie get on your nerves and put so much tension, and that's a success.

2. The Somali crew.. Now, that's some serious impressive sh*t. Some Somali dudes you have never seen their faces in a movie before come and make such spectacular performances, that's something you should admire. It made the movie so believable that you'd sometimes forget it's just a movie. Barkhad Abdi has made a huge step in his career with this movie and that was crowned by his nomination for the best actor in a supporting role. He probably won't get it, but he deserved it.

3. Tom Hanks is just a really fine actor. He was driving the whole thing with his convincing performance. I still can't believe he got my tearing in that scene, or let's just say crying. Greengrass has taken him to squeeze some fine acting skills.

4. Fair screenplay that didn't make you forget that justice should be done, no matter how the conditions the person lives in, but it also pushed the eyes to take a look into the world that would produce such people as pirates.
2014-01-18
Taut, thrilling and surprising empathetic
What a stunning film - the imminent threat of deadly violence tempered with the tragic circumstances that drive people to such desperate actions made for a very human story.

If Hanks is nominated for an Oscar for this, then Barkhad Abdi deserves a nomination too, because their scenes together were electric - never once did Abdi appear the junior party, every bit Hank's equal as two cunning foes trying to outfox one another.

The best lines in the film were perhaps when Phillips beseeched of Muse: "Surely there's something other than fishing and kidnapping people you could do?"

To which Muse replied, sombrely: "In America, maybe".

It's a must see, the best film I've seen this year.
2013-10-10
Hanks is back to his best, Abdi's debut is as good as anyones
If you thought Pirates died out in the 1700′s and only reappeared in Jack Sparrow's adventures then your very wrong.

Piracy is very much still a huge problem, so much that in 2011 there were 151 reported attacks on ships off the shores of Somalia. There is an estimated 3000-5000 operating out of Somalia. In 2009 a group of these Somali pirates boarded and attempted to hijack the MV Maersk Alabama.

The film Captain Philips follows the events of the attempted hijacking of the container ship off the coast of Somalia. Tom hanks plays the captain of the ship Captain Richard Phillips. Hanks is back and back with a bang in this movie as he is simply flawless throughout. The film is filled with suspense and tells the story in such a realistic way, if you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be held hostage by terrifying Somali pirates armed with AK47′s then just watch this movie.

Surprisingly the stand out performance does not come from hanks even though he is magnificent. The stand out performance comes from Barkhad Abdi. Abdi plays the leader of the pirate group. His performance is worthy the Oscar nomination its received.

"Look at me, Look at me, I am the captain now"

One line from a performance that will stand out for a very long time.

Director Paul Greengrass as made a fantastic portrayal of this story that deserves to be told.
2014-02-16
Might Have Worked Better With An Unknown Lead
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS tells the story of the MV Maresk Alabama which was the first US cargo ship ship to be hijacked in two hundred years . I haven't bothered to research the history of American cargo ships being hijacked but I'm making a very educated guess that last time it was common place it was the British Royal Navy who were doing the hijacking which led to the war of 1812 . Therefore it's ironic that an American story is being told via a British director in this case Paul Greengrass

Greengrass is a former producer of the ITV flagship current affairs show WORLD IN ACTION . Afterwards he got lucky with the Bourne sequels which had shaky cam and elliptical editing . It some ways CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is an uneasy amalgamation of realist cinema and social comment and the director wastes no time in showing the difference between America and Somalia . Captain Richard Phillips and his wife get in to their car and on the way to the docks discuss their son's career plans . Cut to Somalia where Abduwali Muse is woken from his corrugated iron shed by armed khat dealers . You can see instantly the point Greengrass is making with life in America being boring but stable and life in Somalia being dangerous and potentially short but I felt this point was a little bit too obvious to be successful in any way

As the film continues so does the cinema verite style . The Somalians decide to hijack a cargo ship and like the Somalian plan as a film some things work and some things don't . I always wondered how it possible for a handful of pirates to hijack a cargo ship but this is easily explained by bringing a set of ladders with them ! Simple as that and the story is simply told which isn't necessarily a criticism as a game of cat and mouse is played out . It's fairly tense even if you know the outcome but one thing that constantly left me puzzled is why if you're making a real life story filmed in a realist style we have a Hollywood big hitter in Tom Hanks playing the eponymous captain . I never got the impression I was watching a character undergoing trauma and Captain Phillips was Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks which does drag the story down . As it stands I can understand why the film picked up six Oscar nominations which ended with the movie winning none of them
2015-04-28
It was just too real.
While going to watch a movie, I didn't have any clue what was it about. But having Tom Hanks in a main part was already a big expectation. Believe it or not, but I found the movie (even difficult to call it just a movie)one of the best for a very long period of time. The action, the people, the characters, the story itself made me cry, tremble, co-live it! It was just a play of 7 people in general and they got me till the bones. I forgot I was in a theater. I was there, with them, frightened and nervous, willing to survive. Amazing picture. People around the world should watch it not only for pleasure but for awareness. Well done.
2013-11-28
Good drama & Emotions
its a good movie as usual tom has given his best but i must appreciate the pirate his acting was quite nice in my opinion he beat hanks on few occasions he was able to deliver more through his eyes its a true story so i guess director has done a good job because you can not make something on your own beside i was expecting a photo of real phillps at the end of the movie with his family . music could have been better at times it was very loud but not emotional for me its a good movie over all good time pass and a family movie do watch it when you have time one role only . i don't see any Oscar for this movie in any category though people have been talking a lot about this project please rate if you like my review as this is my first review for any movie. regards
2014-01-13
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