Captain Phillips (2013)

captain phillips poster 2013 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Barkhad Abdi, good visuals

So recent that it isn't surprising

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Captain Phillips

Studio:  Michael de Luca Productions

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


They’re coming for you, Phillips!

While making a dangerous run around the Horn of Africa, the MV Maersk Alabama captained by Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) encounters danger.  A group of Somalian pirates led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) have targeted the Alabama and intends to take it and its contents hostage…including Phillips and his crew.  Phillips begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with Abduwali and his workers as he tries to outwit them, but quickly finds himself trapped by the pirates.


Yeah! We get to run through the sprinklers!

Directed by Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips adapts the real life story of Richard Phillps and his 2009 hijacking.  The story for the film was based on the 2010 book A Captain’s Duty:  Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea which Phillips wrote with Stephan Talty.  The movie received positive reviews and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Abdi), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.


Apologize for The Terminal…Now!!!

It is strange to watch a really fresh event put to the screen.  Recent history films have become the rage and films like The Social Network and Zero Dark Thirty look at events that feel like they just happened…Captain Phillips is no different.  I can remember looking at footage of the dingy and hearing about the SEALs snipers taking out the pirates, so it is odd to be watching a “historical” film that is new.

With every historical picture comes criticism.  The movie paints Phillips as a heroic captain that put himself between the pirates and his crew and set out to protect him.  This was disputed by other crew members almost immediately when it came out and this type of press might have event hurt the film’s award chances.


Swimming is fun!

It wasn’t particularly the film’s story that was compelling, but I did find the techniques used to keep the pirates away from the ships far more interesting.  The ship really isn’t armed to deal with pirates despite the constant threat.  They have a safe filled with money for an easy payoff and they have mounted hoses surrounding the ship to prevent boarding.  Guns really aren’t much of an option because a firefight is not wanted with the Somalis.

The movie also does little to show the Somalis’ perspective.  You see Muse in his home at the beginning and see how awful it is.  He explains at one point that fishing isn’t an option because the area has been fished out, but it also shows that money isn’t the goal because he claims to have captured tons of money for his “boss” and still lives in squalor.  I was glad to get a little perspective but would have liked more.


Gross, I got blood and brains in my mouth

I am not a Tom Hanks fan.  He is alright as Phillips but I didn’t feel he soared or sank as the character…my opinion of Hanks in general.  He is an ok actor and I feel one of the more overrated actors out there (I preferred him funny).  Abdi however is a great scene stealer.  The twenty-eight year-old first time Somali actor simply got the job by chance after growing up in Minneapolis while working as limo driver.  It is one of those feel good stories that might not lead to anything else for the actor but gets an amazing performance.


Guys, I think we can pull this off!

The movie does look quite strong.  The ocean and sea shots at the beginning (before Hanks is taken hostage) is the best part of the film but the night shootings do lose the dramatic feel of the bright wide shots that take the beginning of the film.

Captain Phillips is one of those films that I can see once and probably never see again.  It wasn’t my type of movie, but it is quite solid.  I like to see a surprise in a film and the story doesn’t surprise you since it just happened, but Abdi’s performance is a surprise and worth checking out.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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