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Movie Review: Captain Phillips

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 4 months ago

2     0


How precise to the actual events is something we’ll never know, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this is one awesome, intense, edge-of-your-seat piece!

It seems like yesterday I recall talking about this real life ordeal. For a while we’d heard of pirates off the coast of Somalia taking over cargo ships, cruise ships, yachts, etc., but never encountering (unless it’s been kept on the hush) any American vessels. Well, inevitability has a way of creeping its way into our lives until it happened. Now the news stories and images were doubled because it was an American ship and we didn’t dance well to the beat of that drum. I knew one way, or another, it wasn’t something this country would have taken lightly—and considering it was only Obama’s third month in office (March, 2009), this was practically baptism-by-fire in terms of anything related to a terror-based act upon U.S. citizens. Our military took action and this was over quicker than any romantic relationship I’ve ever had. Much like any issue in our history, there was some controversy, but much love-and-respect to the NAVY SEALs who took care of business. 

“Captain Phillips” is director Paul Greengrass's multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex piece exposing reality. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (newcomer, Barkhad Abdi). Set on a collision course off the coast of Somalia, both men will find themselves paying the human toll for economic forces outside of their control. Written by Billy Ray (“State of Play,” “Flight Plan”) based upon the book, “A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, NAVY SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea,” by the real Richard Phillips, the events that transpired during March, 2009 are pretty much fresh in our heads, therefore, triggering much piqued interest, especially knowing SEAL Team 6 were also involved and played a role in last year’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”

From its great pacing to its astonishing cast, “Captain Phillips” is the type of flick that leaves no stone unturned. Tom Hanks gives one of the best performances of his career and the same goes to the pirates, who are far from anything resembling Johnny Depp, but perfectly cast. This film is one of the more realistic ones I’ve seen all year because everything feels SO real when it needs to be, and the emotion it forces upon you jumps off the screen, making your mind and heart race to anxiety-based thoughts and palpitations. The shaky-cam work in this film doesn’t really matter too much since it IS a Paul Greengrass (“Greenzone,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) film—and we all know that’s his gifted trademark!

Overall, it is one of the most impressive and well-crafted flicks of 2013. Coming into Oscar season, it definitely deserves some attention.


Grade: A+ / Genre: Thriller, Drama, Action, and Adaptation / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2 Hrs. 17 min.

Starrring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Mahat M. Ali, Catherine Keener

Directed by: Paul Greengrass



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