Thursday, May 15, 2014

Captain Phillips Review

Captain Phillips is a 2013 Oscar nominated film starring Tom Hanks about the true events of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking by Somali pirates. 
Making films based on well documented recent events is incredibly difficult because the audience usually knows how everything turns out in the end; therefore, maintaining any level of suspense is not easy, but Paul Greengrass somehow manages to pull it with Captain Phillips. In fact, Captain Phillips is one of the most suspenseful films that I have seen in quite some time, and it is greatly aided by Tom Hanks' truly fantastic performance. In general, films based on actual events rarely seem to catch my attention, so my expectations for Captain Phillips were not particularly high, and the film most certainly exceeded all expectations.

Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Drama
Release Date: October 11, 2013
Running Time: 134 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Tom Hanks' performance is amazing, Surprisingly realistic feel, Fantastically suspenseful, One incredibly powerful scene, Strong performances from the entire cast, Top notch direction,

The Bad:

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the MV Maersk Alabama, an unarmed container ship from Port of Salalah in the city of Salalah in Oman, with orders to sail through the Gulf of Aden to Mombasa, round the Horn of Africa. Wary of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, the captain orders strict security precautions on the vessel and carries out practice drills.
During a drill, the vessel is chased by Somali pirates in two skiffs; Phillips succeeds in outrunning them when one gives up after hearing Phillips on the radio calling for immediate military air support (a bluff) and the other loses engine power while trying to gain speed under the rough water Captain Phillips created.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 8.1/10- Rating a film based on true events is difficult because the filmmakers can only do so much within the confides of the story, yet Paul Greengrass and Billy Ray manage to make a movie that is mostly accurate with history, and one that is suspenseful and entertaining. What makes the movie great is the incredibly sense realism. Everything feels to real and raw without the usual Hollywood BS. Aside from about 15 minutes towards the latter half of the film, the pacing was relentless! Since I remember the event happening not that long ago, I knew the final outcome of the events, but I did not know exactly how everything went down, which did make the movie more suspenseful.

Characterization: 8.6/10- Again, as with films based on true events, characterizing the people is difficult, and the movies does an excellent of it. While Captain Richard Phillips is portrayed as more heroic than what his crew claimed him to be, he is a very likable character. Additionally, the film did a good job of portraying the Somali pirates. Before the action starts, there are some scenes with the pirates that are effective for setting up what is going to happen, while not making the pirates unnecessarily sympathetic.

Action/Suspense: 8.4/10- Captain Phillips' suspense is the film's strong aspect. While I hate shaky-cam, Paul Greengrass' use of the technique is actually effective at producing tons of tension. I was on the edge-of-my-seat throughout much of the film. In fact, I would go as far to say that Captain Phillips is the most riveting and suspenseful film of the year because my face was glued to the screen two hours.

Acting: 9.9/10- Tom Hanks absolutely kills it in the role of Captain Phillips! His performance is easily one of his best, and the final with him is positively incredible. Barkhad Abdi as the pirate leader Abduwali Muse, is utterly fantastic in his first big-screen role, and more than deserving of his Oscar nomination. The entire supporting cast looked and acted like real people, particularly the pirates, who were played by real Somalis.

Special effects: N/A-

Soundtrack: 8.0/10- While not groundbreaking Henry Jackman's score is effective at creating tension
in many of the film's scenes.

Humor: N/A-

Entertainment Value: 8.1/10- Despite being based on true events, Captain Phillips manages to be surprisingly entertaining to watch, which is, again, largely thanks to Greengrass' direction.

Overall: 8.3/10- Overall, Captain Phillips is a riveting and suspenseful thrill ride supported by top notch performances and direction that is not to be missed.

Closing comments: One last thing to note is that Captain Phillips is not a movie that you have to see on the big-screen, which you cannot actually do anyway. I might even go as far to say that it is almost better on the small-screen, but that is the case for many films with a similar feel.

Recommended for: Tom Hanks fans, Thriller fans, Suspense fans,

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  1. Great review! This seems like an interesting film! I think I know a little about the events of the film(I think I remember hearing about it online a few years ago), and I think I'd like it(especially if it's historically accurate). Hopefully I can get it this summer! :)

    1. Thanks! You should probably give it a watch sometime. :)


  2. While I 'd like to see this movie from an artistic and entertainment level, it really REALLY bothers me that Phillips was made out to be such a hero, when in reality the crew blames him for getting them into all the trouble in the first place, and even Phillips agrees that he wasn't a hero. Yet he lets everyone believe he his, with the press and the book and this movie. But I guess they needed a good story so they twisted it around as much as they needed to to make it. I don't know if I could overlook that if I watch it.

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it James. Good review!

    1. I have heard about Phillips portrayal not being exactly accurate. If that does really bother you, I might recommend skipping the movie, but it was not a problem for me. And thank you!


  3. I am just sick of Tom Hanks, the accent in this movie was terrible.

    1. Really? I thought the accent was mostly good.


  4. I've heard friends rave about this movie but I didn't know it was based on a true tale! I'll definitely put it on my "Look Into" list since you liked it a lot!



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