Review - Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips is a nerve-shredding thriller that tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009.

Directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips is a powerful film that for me, is one of the must-see films of 2013 so far.

Director Paul Greengrass is no stranger in bringing dramatic real life events to the big screen. He also directed the phenomenal 9/11 drama United 93. Having a director like Greengrass at the helm is something that works wonders for Captain Phillips.

His techniques allow you to feel a part of the drama, whether it is Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) being forced to search the ship for any hiding crew members or Phillips being held hostage on a small lifeboat by the four Somali pirates.

The moment Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) meets the Somali pirates

One thing I have read about the preparation for filming was that Greengrass kept the actors playing the crew of the MV Maersk Alabama and the Somali pirates separate. This was done deliberately so that the first time they meet each other, when the Somali pirates hijack the ship, the actors would give the reaction of a first meeting. I have to say it pays off as their first meeting in the film feels so believable.

The performances all-round in Captain Phillips are of the highest order. Barkhad Abdi is insanely creepy as Muse, the leader of the Somali pirates. What I didn't like was how the majority of the audience decided to laugh at most of the things any of the Somali pirates said, it was extremely annoying and ruined the effect of the film.

The standout performance, which may come as no surprise, has to go to Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips. He triumphantly portrays the inevitable terror that would arise in the real life situation.

I have been a fan of Hanks for years and his performance in Captain Phillips is so good that it ranks amongst the likes of Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan as one of his all-time best performances. It is a powerhouse performance and once again shows how brilliant an actor he really is. I will be surprised if he is not nominated for an Academy Award.

Captain Phillips met all my expectations and will most likely do the same with many others. It is a thrilling ride that comes to an excruciatingly tense finish that, when you do see it, will make you want to go and give Tom Hanks a hug.

Verdict: 4.5/5


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