Rental Review - Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips (2013), PG-13, 134 minutes - We all remember the story: in 2009 an American cargo ship, the MV Maersk Alabama was hijacked by Somali pirates, and in the process became the first such American ship successfully taken in two hundred years.  The situation had the potential to be an absolute disaster, but thanks to the ship's Captain, Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), the crew suffered no casualties and was reclaimed by the United States Navy.  I remember this story dominating the news for days.  It really was an amazing story, but there's something about watching it play out in front of your eyes that makes it that much more unbelievable.

This was one of the films that I missed last fall as we were getting prepared for the wedding/honeymoon and I'm glad that I finally had a chance to check it out in my push to catch as many Oscar nominees as possible before tomorrow's Academy Awards.  In any other year, we probably would have seen Tom Hanks snag yet another Best Actor nomination.  That's probably not all that surprising, but the big story from this film is the performance of Barkhad Abdi (Muse), who had never done any acting previously and was working as a chauffeur when he landed the part.  He brings a very intense commanding, and sometimes confused presence to the film.  The scene in which he meets Hanks' Captain Phillips for the first time is absolutely riveting.  Paul Greengrass really was the perfect director to bring this story to the big screen.  His ability to realistically shoot tension filled scenes is unequaled.

I personally don't read much non-fiction, so I'm glad that this film exists.  It's another avenue for people to learn about this event and about the amazingly selfless heroics of a man who barely a year later was back on the seas, doing his job as if nothing had happened.  This is the kind of story that needs to be passed on in whatever way possible.  Captain Phillips is absolutely worth a watch if you haven't seen it already.


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