Captain Phillips (2013) – Film Review

Paul Greengrass’ intense true story thriller has received deserved acclaim from the Academy, garnering six nominations, with the prestigious Best Motion picture among them.
The film is captained by the superlative Tom Hanks playing the merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips, who must deal with his trade ship being hijacked by a gang of Somali pirates led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

Whilst putting on an incredibly convincing Boston accent, Hanks steers the three hijackers away from his hiding crew as he tries to buy time for the Coast Guard to intervene. Though the time never comes, the pirates decide to kidnap the Captain as a hostage and hold him for ransom, they depart in one of the yellow lifeboats, scenes which are cramped, high-tension and riddled with excellent sound design.

After the situation reaches international status a U.S Navy destroyer begins to tail the lifeboat and attempts to neutralise the situation in the most efficient manner possible. The film’s conclusion confirms the realist element of the film as a highly fazed Hanks is treated for his injuries and Abdi is apprehended.

Though the film handles the authentic course of events with a certain dignity and accuracy, with Greengrass to thank, with the added drama of the plot indisputably creates a great film. In a way, it takes the tragic realism of his other film United 93 and the intensity and directorial ability of the Bourne Trilogy to culminate in this powerful dramatic thriller.


Dan Iacono


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