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Captain Phillips
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Biography
IMDB rating:
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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Intense - features a standout performance by Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is terrific in the title role, playing the real life captain of the Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship that was hijacked off the eastern coast of Africa by Somali pirates in April, 2009. Although the filmmakers changed some elements of the actual story to make Phillips appear more heroic - and less to blame for the incident - there is no doubt that he suffered greatly, physically and psychologically, during the ordeal. For days, Captain Phillips was the sole hostage of four volatile Somalis in an enclosed lifeboat; they hoped to receive millions of dollars in an exchange.

Director Paul Greengrass and editor Christopher Rouse (who received an Oscar nomination) did an excellent job of capturing the suffocating heat and cramped spaces of the lifeboat, while Hanks portrays a wide range of emotions, mostly without words. The actor's most powerful scene is the film's last, as Hanks perfectly affects a man in shock, mentally reliving the horror of his captivity while involuntarily sobbing in relief to be freed from it all.

Barkhad Abdi plays Muse, who dubbed Phillips "Irish", in an Academy Award nominated Best Supporting Actor performance. Muse struggled to keep his own crewmates under control while resisting the pressure exerted by the United States Navy. The situation was eventually resolved by SEAL Team 6 snipers, whose skills enabled them to simultaneously 'execute' the three remaining hijackers after Muse had been tricked into boarding the U.S.S. Bainbridge (a destroyer) for negotiations.

The movie was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, as was its Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Adapted Screenplay writer Billy Ray.
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.
I'm just a cook...
Cinema has come a long way since Under Siege. The titular hero of this story is no expert in hand-to-hand or weapons and tactics. He's definitely not a cook.

Tom Hanks is Richard Phillips, captain of the Alabama cargo ship, en route to Mombasa via Somali no-man's water. Muse (impressive newcomer Barkhad Abdi) arrives with a handpicked crew of pirates, and they board the Alabama. Nail-biting tension and hostage-taking will follow. It's best that one goes into the film knowing no more.

Paul Greengrass is the best director working today in the authentic documentary aesthetic. He knows that the drama is in the detail. Captain Phillips' most thrilling moments are when Greengrass is most exacting and pedantic about characters' relative positions within the environment. That sounds kind of formal, but then Greengrass's shaky-cam does veil an essential precision. He focuses on the immediate situation, leaving us the viewers to picture it in the wider political context.

As with Kathryn Bigelow, Greengrass's anti-polemical style is occasionally a curse but mostly a blessing. The action may occur on the surface, but there's depth beneath the objectivity – perhaps best encapsulated in the image of three mighty US warships surrounding a tiny craft in international waters.

The implicit themes are globalisation and imperialism. The opportunism of the pirates is met with a defence based on an escalating chain of command. It's chaos versus structure; improvisation versus meticulous contingency planning. Money is nothing without an entrenched system to contain it and protect it. Sorry, Africa – we'll throw food parcels in your direction but we won't help you build long-term infrastructure plans, and you sure as hell can't step on "our" turf.

When the pirates are first approaching the Alabama, Muse presents his gang as seaborne law enforcers, and I couldn't help thinking of the United States' assumed position as "world police"...

More than anything, Captain Phillips reminds us of the power of Hanks and Greengrass, two servants of cinema at the absolute top of their game, and that should be recommendation enough. It's worth paying to see – please don't pirate it!
More like a drama than an action movie
There is one question in my mind that is never addressed in the movie: why did they go near pirate infested water with no weapons? If they had guns or shields they could have repelled the pirates. Since the issue is not addressed, I can only assume the captain is stupid, which makes this a movie about a stupid person.

I also don't find Tom Hank's performance realistic. He acted too calmly, and didn't even break a sweat. Strangely, near the end he had a nervous breakdown. It almost look fake considering how calm he had been up to that point.

Another thing that didn't make sense is why the pirates would leave the ship at all. When the ship's crew released the pirate captain, he could simply stay on the ship.
More Shallow Than Expected
Let me preface this by saying that I am normally a fan of biopics, and even more a fan of Tom Hanks, so this movie was intriguing, especially because of the generally good reviews it has gotten.

However, I found this film to be rather flat, to be put quite simply. The dialogue at times felt mechanical, and as the story went on I realized that I didn't feel any substantial connection to the characters, as little effort is given to build any- including Captain Phillips, whose backstory was presented altogether poorly. Instead, the film jumped fairly quickly into the action, which would be fine, except that with the length of the movie, it drags on towards the end without giving the viewer any real reason to keep his or her interest. At the conclusion, I felt, meh. Not much of anything, just that it was over.

As I usually do, afterwards I read into the backstory of the film, to find some reasoning as to explain why I thought it could have been better developed. I learned that not only is the true Captain Phillips misrepresented in the movie as a hero, but that there is a much more interesting dynamic when it comes to the backstory of the Somalian pirates. In the movie we are only given a few confusing scenes (without subtitles, so fairly vague) where the pirates leave their village to be picked for the expedition, and throughout the story they are not really made out to be endearing, nor unlikable either. The viewer is left unsure what to think about their fate.

In real life, the plight of Somalians is that of foreign ships illegally taking advantage of their shipping lanes and fish, which dissipated their fish populations. As they have relied on fishing as nearly their only means for living, this led many to self-regulate the waters as their seemingly only other option, escalating into piracy. Whether this is morally justifiable or not, I can't say, but I dislike that this film fed the audience a definitive answer without even providing the full context. If the movie had developed this aspect more fully, I feel that it would have made for a much more compelling tale, as it would have done better to connect the audience to the Somalians rather than acting as just another Hollywood film with the undertone that American lives are more important than all others.

I would also have preferred a better developed Captain Phillips character. Obviously after reading articles, I would have liked to have him portrayed truer to his questionable real-life self, but it's the media business so I can settle for their idealized version; but only if they develop a reason to like him, which I still wasn't given. I just felt myself waiting for the movie to give me a reason to cheer for him, but like the entire role of characters, was given an altogether two dimensional character instead.

The story in its full context is incredibly interesting, but the movie decided to tell the basic press clippings version, and for that I am left disappointed.
Honest, but dramatically underwhelming,
A zodiac of Somali pirates charges after a cargo freighter, while the captain attempts to keep them at bay with his water cannons, but they manage to get close enough to jump on board.

As the movie progresses it becomes increasingly obvious that the scrawny high jackers are in a pickle. Once the US forces engage them, their only bargaining chip is the captain's life. The pirates have their AK-47's but they never seem managing enough to even consider pulling the trigger. The fact that the pirates speak English is a problem for the movie. A hostage taker is far less intimidating when you can communicate with him. Captain Phillips manages to seem very casual as he gives his captors a tour, and even offers them food from his kitchen.

You can't go wrong with Tom Hanks as the virtuous 'good soldier' who represents American model citizenship wherever he goes. Captain Phillips gets by on his performance, but it's not nearly as thrilling a story as most would have you believe.
There are no heroes onboard
"I have made a bunch of films that are about the post 9/11 world one way or another. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS felt like it was fresh and new and speaking to tomorrow" – Paul Greengrass

This is what the director who gave us THE BOURNE SUPREMACY &UNITED 93 amongst a few other great movies says about his collaborated Hanks venture ; CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. Overwhelmed by the performances here I am starring into an abyss where my thoughts and emotions run riot on how to sum up this movie into words that would convince the reader that it is a must watch. Mustering the courage to hold back the waterworks as the final lines are delivered by Hanks I exhale trying to gain control. Paul Greengrass has been around long enough to know the ropes of the trade and to manipulate the audience by reaching out and pulling us right into the center of where it all happens. To make one feel one with those on screen by tweaking the screenplay just right to balance the intensity without hovering too far from reality. This alone ensures the bio-drama stays afloat in the Somali Basin.

Based on the headlining Richard Phillips incident back in 2009 we witness the journey of American flagged Maersk Alabama leaving port from Salalah Oman and heading towards Mombasa Kenya around the horn of Africa through the Somali Basin. Stark Raving Mad performances by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Ali makes one feel that 134 minutes is too short for such a great display of talent. 5 time nominee and 2 time Oscar winner Hanks is in the zone with a performance of his life time Whilst the Somali- American star makes his debut mark in Hollywood with a show that has secured him a nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the AA on the 2nd March 2014. In an age where superheroes, spray-painted abs and fast cars have aided in making careers, Hanks can be considered one of the very few who walked this path playing roles of ordinary men by putting up extraordinary displays of diverse talent. These men literally play off each other's talent in the cleverly written screenplay. While Hanks represent the humanity of all that takes place in the deep blue waters Ali's portrayal of Muse will represent the distance humans will go through in order to survive in an environment that they did not chose to be born into. Muse isn't the pirate we see in Jack Sparrow or Captain Barbosa. Instead Muse is the real deal. Muse cannot be read instead one will only keep staring wondering what will come next.

Verdict An encounter over the ocean like never witnessed before in a motion picture. There are no heroes onboard, instead just humans hiding behind their own fears trying to be brave. We are always right there with them on that ship ..on that lifeboat….

Nominations - Best Motion Picture Of The Year - Best Performance by and Actor in a Supporting Role - Best Achievement in Film Editing - Best Achievement in Sound Mixing - Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Greengrass Struggles Aboard the MSV Maersk Alabama
Paul Greengrass of Bourne fame ventures into the semi-true story of Captain Richard Phillips and his encounter with the not-so-bloody not-so-terrifying pirates of the Somalian coast. When the MSV Maersk Alabama, loaded with food for the poor, starving children of Africa (rolleyes), embarks onto its course to the port of Mombasa from the Oman coastline, they are full aware of the dangers posed by pirate activity in the area. With Somalian kidnapping on the rise, the loaded cargo ship is but another prey for the rag-tag band of yellow-toothed AK47-wielding outlaws. Normally a crew would back down and hand over the ship peacefully, but not this yippee ki yay band of die hards (with glass traps to boot). Led by the scrawny Muse (Barkhad Abdi) this band of hijackers has met their match!!!

Achingly overwrought "Captain Phillips" intends to thrill, together with manipulative background music attempting to heighten the tension, where there is none to behold. Somehow, most people seem to have fallen into the trap set up by Tom Hanks and Greengrass' shaky cam, but when the foursome of motley pirates are set to collide with the navy and seals the attempt to keep tension high is as ludicrous as the outcome is inevitable. The fearless Somalian fishermen-turned outlaws versus the entire might of US military excellence - never has an action thriller been so lopsided in favour of the so-called 'good guys'. This is one movie where I actually found myself rooting for the 'bad guys', despite Greengrass's best intentions to have Phillips and the overbearing force of the US Navy being perceived positively.

Riddled with unnecessary focus on detail the movie irritates with its trite dialogue, often inserted to add some skin-deep expansion on the plight of Somalia, but never offering any attempt to flesh out any of the characters. Lacking any meaty commentary Greengrass basically offers a straight up action film, which however lacks the ingredients to make it interesting. The conclusion is foregone from the outset and the lack of depth fails to really emotionally involve with anyone. With the story basically devoid of tension from mid-way (when the terrorist kidnap Captain Phillips and use an escape pod to head for the mainland), the last hour is overbearing to the point of excruciating cries for the story to just end. The realistic fly-on-the-wall never really helps, as it struggles to imbue a sense of purpose of proceedings, making you almost wish for the crew to just dump Captain Phillips in the water, so the movie will finally end.

With an overwhelming sense of patronisation of the plight of Somalians, "Captain Phillips" also barely treads on the right side of the moral landscape. Not to say that Somali pirates are justified or noble, but the story has been literally whitewashed with the fearless 'whites' saving the day and outsmarting their opposition (I believe not a single talking part from the 'good side' was offered to a coloured person). The "Smiling Pirate" Muse has been vilified, not one mention being made of him actually being underage, with absolutely no focus being placed on 'his side of the story', apart from some banal shopworn tag-lines about his fisherman roots. The beginning was actually promising, when Muse was introduced, but soon focus shifts away from him and suddenly we become overpowered by American patriotism coupled with overblown music intended to force a sense of tension. Single lines of dialogue are afforded to wider ranging issues with Rich Phillips supplying an opening comment about the rat-race juxtaposed with the conditions of life of ordinary Somalians one of the few high points of the drama. Apart from that its an pompous mess of action overly focused on the title character and his emotional responses than to actually posing any serious questions.

Tom Hanks acts his heart out, but with such a divisory persona it's hard to really connect with him. The best acting is therefore on the side of the worn Somalian naturals like Abdi, who deserves Oscar recognition much more than Hanks. Nonetheless, the secondary cast of the cargo ship crew was mostly terrible and laughable in their execution, offering a few hardy laughs with their picturesque poses and worried mimicry.

Within the cascading amount of Somali pirate movies, this is by far the worst. "A Hijacking" is hardly a great movie, but shows how deficient Greengrass's storytelling is. Just around the corner: "Fighting without Nets" will premiere at Sundance and hopefully present a movie with more than one layer to it.
8+2=10:-) 8 for movie,2 for Tom Hanks acting.
This is my first review for a movie.I wrote for it because the movie was stunning and awesome.At starting i thought that it is like a simple movie and only tom hanks acting will take it to the end but soon it made me wrong.And i thought that don't judge a movie by its starting:-) Excellent movie,Suspense,Thriller. Keeps you on the EDGE OF YOUR SEAT. Acting was superb.By all actors.The acting from Tom Hanks was emotional and legendary.Story was good.Also contained small twists.for newbie actors,watch it and learn about acting. Loved it of my favorite film. Recommended to everyone.WATCH IT AND LOVE IT........... sorry for language mistakes:-)
A HUGE letdown
How in the world is that rated so highly? This is nothing more than manufactured Hollywood BS! The tension that everybody raved about rarely happens. There are brief moments of tension, but nothing is sustained. It all felt phony. Even when Phillips is captured, there isn't much suspense. It's all done in routine fashion. After it was over my initial reaction was "That's it?!" I felt severely cheated. For a movie that's over two hours long, nothing really garnered my interest. I'm a big fan of Hanks, but his performance isn't anything special. As a matter of fact, he overacted. His final scene is embarrassingly overacted. As much as I like Hanks, this isn't one of his best performances. Barkhad Abdi is solid in his role.

This movie left me feeling cold. Many will probably scratch their heads reading this review. I just think it's more Hollywood drivel that didn't live up to the hype

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