“Captain Phillips” just sounds like it’s going to be a good movie, because since it’s a true story and has Tom Hanks, it sounds great on paper. The true story follows the tale of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) finds his crew in jeopardy when a smaller crew of desperate Somolian pirates jumps on the ship, which causes a greater situation than either side anticipated. To expect a good movie from “Captain Phillips” is completely justified, but the real treat is that it just isn’t good, it’s damn fantastic.
The film is filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense and the situation Phillips is placed in is terrifying. It’s the unarmed shipmates vs. armed Somolian pirates that makes for a great movie. Paul Greengrass directs a winner here because it’s never boring and it gets into the action fairly quickly, and it never overstays its welcome. Phillips is an interesting character because he is fairly calm and collected and seems to feel compassion for some of his kidnappers. Tom Hanks delivers his strongest performance in recent years, and his talent is prominent in many scenes. This is notably tense because at times viewers might feel like Phillips’ life is truly in danger, and he might not get out of this alive.
I’ve always enjoyed the economical contrasts between different countries. In Somolia, these pirates have to find a big boat, because if they don’t, their bosses are going to be very angry. And in countries like this, there will never be a shortage of workers – so one can predict what would happen if they went home without a big boat. Lucky for them, and unlucky for the ship, the MV Maersk Alabama is enroute to Kenya to deliver food to starving villages, and they must go through waters occupied by Somolian pirates. The main pirate named Muse (Barkhad Abdi) replies to Phillips saying that kidnapping isn’t the only way to survive, “Maybe in America.” (As seen in the trailer.) There aren’t many job options in Somolia, apparently, so viewers can see how desperate the pirates are.
Tom Hanks isn’t the only one to deliver a great performance here, as Barkhad Abdi delivers a stunning performance here as the intense pirate who is in charge. He has something to overcome in proving himself because he is nicknamed by other Somolians “Skinny Rat.” An unkind nickname, making many around him perceive him as weak because of his size. He is very good; Hanks and he do a lot of the heavylifting for film. He’s one of this movie’s great surprises, he must have just been found on location in Somolia or something. My mom actually thought of that line, but it seems fitting to put in this review because of all the “Where the hell did you come from?” actors lists all over the internet. So, I stole the line – does that make me a pirate? Either way, you should really check out this movie!