“Captain Phillips” review

Captain Phillips review

Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips,” based off of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, takes “based off a true story” to a new level. Paul Greengrass does an incredible job of making sure both sides to the story are told, whether it is the side of Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) or Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

“Captain Phillips” starts with Phillips leaving his house and boarding the Maersk Alabama while Muse picks the three other members of his crew and heads off to sea. Muse’s crew and another pirate crew attempt to board the Maersk Alabama while Phillips and his crew are going through a piracy drill but fail due to engine problems. Muse’s crew successfully boards the cargo ship the following day and takes Captain Phillips and several other members of his crew hostage. While looking for the rest of the crew Muse is caught by the crew members of the cargo ship and is eventually used to strike a deal with the pirates. The pirates take Phillips and they leave on a lifeboat. The U.S. Navy finds out and they have to find a way to save Richard Phillips before the pirates reach Somalia.

One of the most remarkable aspects about this film is seeing the interaction between the Somalian pirates and Phillips. Muse and Najee (Faysal Ahmed) constantly argue about how to handle Phillips. Muse and Phillips form a unique understanding of one another. Najee is definitely the most aggressive of the four pirates. Bilal (Barkhad Abdirahman) and Phillips also seem to form a unique trust between each other, as seen by Bilal listening to Phillip’s advice and wants.

The film’s acting is also superb. Hanks obviously did his homework on Phillips. Hanks portrays Phillips as a family-man who is more worried about others than himself, and he does it to perfection. In addition, Abdi, who worked as a limousine driver before “Captain Phillips,” delivers a performance as Muse that is well-deserving of an Academy Award. Hanks and Abdi interact in a way that complements the other and exposes the characteristics of Phillips and Muse.

Greengrass does a terrific job of humanizing the pirates. The four pirates are no older than 20 years old, and as Somalians they have little at stake if they fail. Throughout the movie, Greengrass makes this fact apparent through their actions. They never once believe that they will fail, as seen by their negotiations with the U.S. Navy. In addition, as the number of days spent in the lifeboat increases, the pirates become more hostile and aggressive towards each other and Captain Phillips.

Overall, this movie is definitely one worth seeing that will leave you with a complete understanding of everyone involved.

Five stars