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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
Exceptionally effective real-life thriller
Hollywood is often accused of providing only shallow entertainment and not making enough films about important issues or watering them down. I don't share that point of view. It's business, of course, and the masses demand escapism, but there has always been a deliberate effort to go beyond that from time to time and that effort alone deserves appreciation. Many deep, meaningful films have emerged from Hollywood during its history, encompassing diverse important themes ranging from the very personal to the very political. Captain Phillips is one of them, and an exceptionally well-made one at that.

Paul Greengrass has already proved with Bloody Sunday and United 93 that he is a master of real-life dramatisations, and Captain Phillips, telling the story of the hijacking of a container ship by Somali pirates and the ensuing hostage crisis, may very well be his best film yet. It is an incredibly intense, suspenseful thriller with impeccable performances from both Tom Hanks (in the title role) and Barkhad Abdi (the leader of the pirates). In the opening sequences, Greengrass masterfully builds up the ominous anticipation, just as he did in United 93. The film grabs your attention from the get-go and glues you to your seat until the very end. There are no unnecessary dialogues, additions or embellishments, and no issues are dumbed down here. The story is told in a highly effective, economical, documentary style, and the focus is on the motives and emotional reactions of the people involved so that you can truly feel and understand what they were going through.

Captain Phillips deserved all six Oscar nominations. One of the best films of the decade.
2016-02-22
A superb and fascinating thriller with a top-drawer acting by Tom Hanks
This is a powerful and intensely watchable film , a masterful exercise in building tension . Director Paul Greengrass has established himself as a huge talent . This is 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 . The first encounter with the young Somalis who chase and board the gigantic Maersk Alabama is on the shores of their homeland, delving , briefly but significantly , into the poverty that drives fishermen to risk life and limb in pursuit of deep sea big game . As the crew of an American cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates who proceed to engage in escalating negotiations with authorities to get a lot of money . Amongst the men on board are the ship's captain who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death.

It's a grade A picture , a gem , absorbing , riveting , highly moving , incredibly tense . This is a psychological drama in which a group of violent pirates demand for a ransom of millions of dollars , it unfolds a battle of wits between the crew of the shipping company and the Somali pirates . This is a smart and sensitive thriller filled with noisy action , thrills , emotion and very entertaining though overlong . Thrilling as well as exciting confrontation of wits between captain Phillips , seamen and pirates , who gradually come to up more and more . This drama about the capture on the high seas of an American ship is doubtless the most exciting one that has ever come down the pike about . This nail-biter is a tightly-knit drama centered on the relentless sea maneuvers of a freighter pursued by a band of pirates and the captain's subsequent kidnapping . The picture makes up for it with an evolving atmosphere of anxiety and fear .

Everything in Paul Greengrass's impressive film looks so real that you might think it's a high resolution videotape of a pirate hijacking . Interesting screenplay , being based upon the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" . And the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and hostage-taking of Captain Phillips were also central to the Elmore Leonard novel Djibouti (2010). The timing of the release coincides with the theatrical release of a Danish movie titled "Kapringen" or ¨A Hijacking¨ (2012) by Tobias Lindholm dealing with similar events . Top-notch performance by Tom Hanks as a clever as well astute captain along with a remaining support cast formed by unknown African players . Tom Hanks says the first time he met the actors playing the Somali pirates was when they started filming the pirates taking over the bridge , Paul Greengrass mentioned he did this intentionally to build up tension between the actors on board the ship and the actors playing the Somaili pirates. In ¨Captain Phillips¨ there is the urgent hand-held camera-work, a directorial trademark refined and perfected by cameraman Barry Ackroyd , which lends an air of pseudo-documentary authenticity to carefully staged reconstructions, putting us right there in the huddle of the action . Furthermore , a tense as well as enjoyable musical score by Henry Jackman .

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Paul Greengrass who proved his action aesthetics and nail-biting filmmaking as well as he formerly made in ¨Green zone¨, ¨The Bourne ultimatum¨ , ¨United 93¨, ¨Bourne supremacy¨ , ¨Bloody Sunday¨, among others . Rating : Above average , a magnificent film . Essential and indispensable seeing . The picture will appeal to Tom Hanks fans .
2013-11-21
Good All-round entertainment
Captain Phillips is based on true events and director Paul Greengrass who has his roots in docu filmmaking has already plenty of experience in making military themed films. It's filmed in his trademark shaky-cam style: this gives it a more dynamic feel and more immersion for the audience but for some people it might get a bit annoying. Performances are all-round excellent with Tom Hanks as the venerable Captain and some unknown actors as the Somalians. A good choice as well known actors might have been distracting and less believable. It's also obvious the US military lent their cooperation to this movie as it clearly demonstrates how the American army works as an efficient machine. Some actors in this film are also real-life army personnel. In this film it's not a problem as it doesn't feel like a military promotion as some other films like Annapolis or Act of Valor. Captain Phillips will keep you entertained for a good 2 hours so it's certainly worth the watch. For me it can win some Oscars but Gravity still remains my favorite.
2014-02-09
Real, and as true as can be. You really get both sides of this story.
Strong will, and great acting bring you a very entertaining story you will want to share. Great characters built from a great real life story, and it's a good one. You will be taken on the full ride here; from a little bit of terror to the suspense you can only feel dangling over a knife edge, while Tom Hanks, and Barkhad Abdi keep you entertained, and your eyes glued to both of them while they are on screen. This is about as good as movies get, you have all the right build up, and then you get right to the action, and are rewarded for every minute of your time. I as you can tell Enjoyed the resilient Captain Phillips, and would recommend it to everyone. There is some small amount of blood, but there is nothing that you would have to keep away from anyone, this one is good for anybody to watch. They will compare this to Castaway of course, but the ending, and the middle are completely different. ;)
2014-01-07
Seriously?
Another Hollywood hijacking film. I find it hard to believe that IMDb has this film rated ahead of other films such as Munich, which was clearly in my mind a much, much better hijacking film that was also very predictable,(Both being true historical stories of course). Munich worked, even despite it's obvious predictability of the true event it documented. Captain Philips on the other hand, I knew less about the true story, but yet it seemed even more predictable, so predictable in fact that Jason Statham should have been in it. This film should honestly be rated a lot closer to the old Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin hijacking film The Delta Force, rather than being rated anywhere near Munich. Seriously, it's ridiculous people, check yourself. The worst part of Captain Philips was that it insulted it's audience and the hijackers at points in the film with it's overt obviousness. To me, this film had some good moments, but overall it's a 6 out of 10 at the very best. The also very predictable but good Apollo 13 even built far more suspense than this film did at any point. The biggest highlight here was the lead hijacker's role, other than that, this is mostly a pretty bland and overly cartoonish Hollywood drama. 5.5/10
2014-04-11
A Must-Watch Thriller
Not too many movies strike a chord with me, make me think and reflect upon the movie for days or weeks after, or even force me to re-watch the movie in the same way that this movie did. "Captain Phillips" is an incredible movie with talented actors and a plot so thrilling that I was literally shaking at times during the film. The suspense that heightened as the movie progressed certainly contributed to the success of this movie and the effect it leaves on the audience.

Tom Hanks once again delivered an exceptional performance as the captain of the ship. I thought his performance particularly excelled at times when the thrill was extremely high, but also in the denouement of the movie, when he was being looked after by a doctor. I would like to name out the actors who played the role of the Somalian pirates, as they all deserve a standing ovation for their contributions to this incredible production: Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. Ali. Despite "Captain Phillips" being the first movie they ever played in, these four actors delivered mind-blowing performances. Surprisingly, they knew each other very well before the movie as friends in Minneapolis, and I am really happy that they had the opportunity to co-star with each other in this movie. I do not think that anyone else would have been able to play the role that they pulled off magnificently. And to Barkhad Abdi, wherever you go from now on, you will always be the captain.

What I really loved about this movie was the reflection of reality, as this was a story told by the real Captain Phillips. I feel comfortable watching a movie and knowing that what I see on screen is similar to the actual events. With that in mind, when I reflect on the movie, I am not only reflecting on what I saw on screen, but also on the real-life events. I felt that in the film, the Somalian pirates had a firm goal, which was the reason they decided to invade the ship in the first place. Throughout the film, I saw evidence of the existence of a warm heart that the pirates possessed (it was clearer in some than in others),and they were not as mean as their mission would suggest. However, whenever their goal of acquiring millions of dollars was threatened, they would react strongly.

I am definitely surprised that this movie did not take home an Oscar this year, but not surprised at all that it was nominated for 6 Oscars and not surprised that Barkhad Abdi took home a BAFTA award either. I saw this movie twice, the second time just couple days later, and I even liked it more the second time than I did the first. I would highly recommend this movie. A must-watch thriller bound to stir emotions!
2014-04-13
well done - but propaganda like
The film is actually well done. Quite Thrilling. Characters are well played and the story is based on real facts. The storyline is a bit simple but well organized:

First a prequel: You get background information about the two main characters, a Somali pirate and a cargo ship captain. Both "getting to work" an are boarding their ships. First Chapter: Cargo ship is running. Some security checks are made. Everithing is getting more and more exciting. Then a first and a second showdown, where the pirates are trying to enter the ship. Second Chapter: About what is going on after the boarding of the pirates. A nice "hide-and-seek" play between both party's. With a showdown at the end ones more. Third Chapter: Hostage drama on a lifeboat. A good and a bad Somali guy. US Army and Navy Seals involvement and final showdown.

If you do not care about any message the Films is transmitting, everything works fine. But if you do, the film appears to you like just one more of these unacceptable American propaganda movies. The good guys are winning, the navy seals are the heroes. "Justice" is given. Some small hints about the situation of Somali guys to reassure the good intentions of the director: in one or two sentences it is stated that fishing-crawlers are making everybody jobless in Somalya. Thats all. The pain and problems of Somalian populations, the involvement of US foreign policy in "failed state" areas like Somalia. The enormous impact of US (and other rich countries) fish-crawlers for the population and the wast problematic (horn of Africa is one of these wast-disposal sites). All these kind of scandalous stuff is not really treated. The image of Africans is something like a unscrupulous self destroying, non-rational horde with a touch of pity. But America is performing his world-police-job with accuracy. Until the last shot.... in my opinion all this smells quite Stereotyped and propaganda like.

I'm happy to see that filmmakers from the southern hemisphere are getting more and more involved in these kind of topics. "Timbuktu" is a good example. Even if Timbuktu lacks a bit the suspense of a Hollywood movie....
2015-04-05
Motion Sick
My wife and I were looking forward to seeing this movie. We love Tom Hanks, and the trailer looked good and the story was compelling. But we had to leave after only 30 minutes, because the shaky camera BS made it too hard to watch the movie, and my wife got sick. Ready to throw up sick. I just don't see the point behind this kind of film-making. This wasn't the Blair Witch Project. It wasn't "ostensibly" filmed by an amateur with a hand-held video camera. This "technique" doesn't even make the scenes more "realistic", because the human eye doesn't see action in a shaky camera way. It's just annoying. Really annoying. I wish they'd stop making movies this way. If you get motion sick at all, don't waste your money on the big screen version. Wait for the rental version...maybe it won't be so bad.
2013-10-20
Challenging Fortitude
Captain Phillips is a biopic based on 2009's Maersk Alabama hijacking incident, which was an intriguing story and ordeal of the people involved. This film adaptation mostly plays as a straightforward thriller with only brief backstories. In spite of whatever comment regards to the accuracy this film is getting, it didn't hurt how much of an exhilarating piece of cinema this is. Merits obviously goes to director Paul Greengrass and star Tom Hanks. It's quite predictable what you'll get if you put those talents together, but the result is somehow surprising like you've never see it coming.

There's nothing much interesting happening at the first act when the film was exploring the personal life of Richard Phillips, but that seems to be the point: the dreariness of the intro immediately presumes that he really is just an ordinary guy. Though, there isn't actually enough detail about his personal life in those scenes aside of his job and his family, same with the Somali pirate leader, Muse. Everything becomes more alive when the actual plot starts going. Lives turn upside down, tension rises every minute passes, and the humanity of both Phillips and Muse are becoming more and more visible. It's a down to earth matter of life and death where both sides aren't too perfect enough to succeed or survive, and their actions could end up causing even worse situations.

Even before the release, everybody has already been betting that Tom Hanks will get a nod for this(probably because of the accent or he's just Tom Hanks). Other than mimicking the real Phillips' accent, Hanks really gives his character a palpable sense of fear and pressure. But there is one scene in his performance that will definitely give the viewers a total impact, which it might've made the camera linger. That whole scene could be a trick for some to love this movie even more, but even without it, Hanks is still spellbinding as Captain Phillips. Another amazing performance is first time actor, Barkhad Abdi. Abdi manages to be threatening, sympathetic, and strangely charismatic at the same time as Muse, thus it makes the character more effective.

Now for Greengrass, his aesthetics are all there. Shaky camera bringing momentum in every action scene, action scenes filled with nerve wracking suspense, and sidelines taking place in control rooms. But this is his challenging side, such as United 93, when there aren't any much explosions nor fighting set pieces practically involved. The title might give one an assumption that the film is about a captain who fights off pirates. But it turns out, they're just hopeless victims who do not have a single gun to defend themselves from their armed enemies. The kind of thrill here is anxiety. You will always get the sense that there is something wrong going to happen in every step these pirates take, leading the hostages really need to depend on the government and the Navy SEALs. What's smart about this is it's all mind games. They're troubled by complicated decisions, yet have awareness of naivety. At the second half, the excitement is now relied by figuring out which of them is going to be fooled by whose tricks. By the end of the film, you will then realize how limitlessly enticing it was while realistic at the same time.

Captain Phillips is almost just a very great thriller, then it eventually becomes more powerful. Despite of calling his achievement heroism, it was more like a test of courage. The movie is wise to make sure Phillips is no glossy superhero, but a regular human being who gets to face a situation that may lead anyone to trauma, just to sacrifice the risks of his crew. Simply, that may tend to inspire which is why it's so focused to his point of view. Otherwise, the filmmaking did an astonishing job, although you already know what these people can bring. But surprisingly, it still defies our expectations. It's amazing how Tom Hanks' talent can still surprise many, and how Paul Greengrass' obvious style feels unique and fresh (in this movie, at least). Rating the film can be somewhat difficult. It's so engrossing and excellent, it's hard to notice any terrible flaws about it. Later on, it doesn't matter. Captain Phillips is a satisfying ride that ultimately does its best.
2013-10-18
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
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