Review: Captain Phillips

captain_phillips_ver2Captain Phillips

  • Starring: Tom Hanks (Castaway), Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdi and more.
  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy)
  • Synopsis: “Captain Phillips is director Paul Greengrass’s multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.  It is – through Greengrass’s distinctive lens – simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization.  The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Barkhad Abdi).  Set on an incontrovertible collision course off the coast of Somalia, both men will find themselves paying the human toll for economic forces outside of their control.”
  • Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense scenes, violence and brief substance abuse.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

One of the best actors of Hollywood shows that he still has what it takes to powerfully capture the attention and emotion of an audience. Tom Hanks stars in the Paul Greengrass directed thriller entitled Captain Phillips as the titular character and delivers a performance worthy of attention. Held captive by the transpiring events, much like Hanks’ character himself, those who embark on the tumultuous and heart-pounding voyage that is Captain Phillips are in for an impressive and intense ride.captain-phillips-01

Based on the true story of the hijack/hostage situation of Captain Richard Phillips and his crew off the coast of Africa, “Captain Phillips” is a unrelenting thriller that never lets the severity of the events disappear from the hearts and minds of its audience. Hanks delivers an impressive performance (along with an equally and consistently impressive Northeastern accent) that grows in its power and appeal all the way to the film’s ultimate climax.

Check out some of these intense scenes in this excerpt:

This character driven and character-centric story not only brings the danger of the events to life once again, but also gives an insight into the workings and motivations of groups such as the Somali pirates. The actors who play the role of the pirates also do so with depth and authenticity that is surprising and believable. It is amazing how they play out their roles in this, their debut film. So believable and full of emotion and expertise that is worthy of the equal billing with Tom Hanks himself. Definitely of merit.Tom Hanks

Hanks himself gives one of his best performances in a decade and prior to watching, I got to listen to this interview with Tom Hanks from Fresh Air on NPR (listen to it here) and hearing about the emotional toll the situation took on the real Captain Phillips really made Hanks’ performance all the more powerful and touching, especially in the final 30 minutes of the film. Simply phenomenal.930353-captain-phillips

All the elements of this dangerous plight on the open seas make Captain Phillips both memorable and powerful. The pulsing musical score adds to the intensity of the scenes as danger and uncertainty hover over every second of elusiveness, escape plans and hostage negotiations. Perhaps you shouldn’t watch this movie if you have a bad back because you most likely will be leaning forward and sitting on the edge of your seat watching the events play out accompanied by pulsing music.capt phillips

A story of ordinary people in extraordinary situations and the lengths they go to in order to survive, “Captain Phillips” is not just about the entire ordeal but about the man himself. Hanks and Greengrass invite you to sail with them on this journey, and your response should simply be “Aye-Aye, Captain.”

My Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for Captain Phillips


(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

Up next:

  • Review for Escape Plan
  • Review for Carrie
  • WSIFF Final Recap/Reviews


  1. One of the most compelling movies of the year, especially with Hanks giving one of his best performances in quite some time. Something tells me he’ll be having an Oscar nomination coming his way. Good review T.


      • No worries at all. The last moments of the movie were truly incredible. Never did I think that a *lack* of words from a character would be so powerful lol. You can stop on over at my page if you’d like to see what my thoughts were on that as well. 😀


  2. Definitely an excellent film and a great role for Hanks. The tension is ratchetted up to extreme levels and it all gets played out brilliantly. The final scene, with Phillips saved… man, it was powerful.


  3. Hmmmm…I enjoyed Captain Phillips, and agree that this is one of the best performances from Hanks, although I can’t say he has had too many bad ones…lol. But as much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t find it as compelling as you did. It got a little boring for me once the characters got into the life raft. This is where the story dragged, and could have used some editing. But it did end powerfully, so it is a movie to see! 🙂


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