Captain Richard Phillips is sailing around the coast of Somalia aboard a massive freight ship when it gets hijacked by pirates. These aren’t the swashbucklers of legend – there are no parrots, peg legs or plank-walkings – but are instead there to loot the ship’s store of cash. Based on true events, the movie draws inspiration from the real-life Richard Phillips’ autobiography.
Who’s In It?
Tom Hanks is the eponymous captain, Catherine Keener is his wife, Michael Chernus is his second-in-command, and Barkhad Abdi leads the group of Somali pirates. It’s directed by Paul Greengrass, who also made Bloody Sunday and United 93.
Who’s It For?
Ship nerds, people who want more tension in their lives, American patriots, Tom Hanks fans and those that still believe that all pirates have eye patches and bushy beards.
Captain Phillips is certainly an extremely suspenseful, tense movie that rarely lets up over its 134 minute duration. Hanks plays an old white guy in peril, handled with his trademark expertise, so he’s virtually guaranteed an Oscar nomination. But Greengrass made the unfortunate decision to dehumanize the pirates to the point where they behave more like cartoon villains than the desperately starving adults they actually are. Although Captain Phillips may be more than a bit dodgy politically, as well as at least twenty minutes too long, it’s still an entertaining film, and probably one of the better Oscar-bait movies we’ll see this autumn.
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