Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is commanding the Maersk Alabama. He has been in charge of shipping liners for some time. This trip isn’t sitting well with Captain Phillips, as Somalian pirates have become more bold and aggressive on their attacks lately. Phillips’ current assignment has him sailing down the coast of Somalia, a dangerous route.
When Muse (Barkhad Abdi) and his small band of pirates board the Maersk Alabama, Captain Phillips must do whatever he can to keep his crew safe. Most of the crew hides, while Phillips and those left in the helm of the ship are held hostage. As the pirates are forced to leave the ship, they take Captain Phillips hostage in their small lifeboat and sail towards Somalia. Their new plan is to hold Phillips for ransom to get the money they lost by not taking over the ship.
I’ll end the synopsis there so as not to give away what happens at the end, so as not to spoil the movie for those who don’t remember the story or have not yet heard about how the harrowing tale ends.
I remember hearing about this on the news years ago. I know how the story ends, but the story leading up to it were a mystery. This is a story of a brave captain who would do anything to keep his crew safe a crew courageous and smart enough to protect themselves from their attackers.
I’m sure some creative liberties were taken with the story. Any true story made into a movie juices up the story a bit to make for a better film. I’m going to give Captain Phillips the benefit of the doubt and say that they stayed pretty true to the story. Mainly because I want to believe that this is how it all went down. As far as “Based on a true story” films go, this is definitely on of the best I have seen recently.
Tom Hanks gives an amazing performance. Perhaps one of his best I’ve seen. He is such a talented guy. He can say so much without saying a word. When the pirates board the ship, you can see the look of horror on his face. You can see a look of disappointment that he has let his crew down in failing to keep them safe from the pirates. And when he finally breaks, you can sense the desperation and complete loss of hope. It is a very powerful moment. When his body is going through shock, it is a very realistic portrayal of what I can imagine one goes through in this situation. If he is not nominated for any awards for this performance, I would be surprised.
Barkhad Abdi also does a great job portraying the head of the pirates. Again, I don’t know what all exactly transpired during the event, but I can imagine this being fairly true to the story. The rest of the cast also does a good job portraying a weary group of sailors caught in a very unfortunate situation. Everything from the writing to the effects are expertly done. Kudos to director Paul Greengrass and all involved.
This story alone is enough to warrant seeing the movie. And the expert way it was executed leads me to say that you should see it in the theater. This is one of those films I’m glad they didn’t do in 3D, as I feel that would have cheapened the experience and made it feel gimmicky.