Movie Review: Captain Phillips

Posted: October 30, 2013 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

I had the good fortune of going into Captain Phillips untainted. Yes there may have been some embellishments on the facts, yes “in theory” the concept of this true story may not be original (#sarcasm), but this is a movie folks. I go to movies because I love the journey they take me on, or how they allow me to escape. I love to laugh, I love to cry, I love to ball my fists from the crazy amount of tension the film builds. True or not, fiction or non-fiction I go to movies to be dazzled, not to debate the realism unless it’s completely distracting. Captain Phillips is a movie that takes you on a terrifying journey. Carried by the incredible Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips is a movie worth buying a ticket for.

Captain Phillips
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, Max Martini, Chris Mulkey

Premise: In 2009, the Maersk Alabama, a U.S. container ship is hijacked by Somali pirates. Captain of the boat Richard Phillips must do anything he can to prevent his crew from being taken hostage. What ensues is a standoff between Muse a Somalian pirate and Captain Phillips as they both fight to survive in circumstances beyond their control.


My Review: I didn’t know the story. I knew it was based on a true story, but I didn’t know the details. I didn’t know who survived, how many died, how it was supposed to play out. In the age of TV and movies where main characters are expendable and acts of violence can happen out of nowhere, this meant, anything could happen. I felt anxious the entire movie. There was even a movie where I leaned over to my friend and whispered into her ear, “This is so stressful!” Yes, this movie turned me into one of those people. (Tangent: So this is what watching a movie before an internet of spoilers and overexposure to elements of the movie is like!)

One of the best things about this movie was that the direction felt real. To the “matter of fact” way lines were spoken by obviously real Naval officers or SWAT members, to the gritty style of shooting (that luckily didn’t feel too pretentious), Captain Phillips felt like something that could have happened. But it was the outstanding work by the two leads Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks that held this movie together. Tom Hanks is a great actor, probably one of my favorites, but as time goes on, he’s always Tom Hanks. He can’t fully be the character (to me) unless it’s something that’s completely different from the norm he usually does. (There are other actors that this happens with as well, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney – You just become super aware that this is an actor playing a role.) However, the last 15 minutes of this movie it’s all stripped away and Hanks performance manages to affect you in a way you never thought possible. He manages to make you feel what he feels in a very raw way that absolutely took my breath away.

If anything, watch Captain Phillips for the last 15 minutes. You won’t be disappointed. And if you are…then we can’t be friends anymore.

Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)






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