Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips
Starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi
Directed by Paul Greengrass (United 93)
Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use

    Based on the true story of the hijacking of the Maresk Alabama off the coast of Somalia, Tom Hanks is Captain Richard Phillips whose valiant efforts to save the ship and his crew put his own life in extreme danger under the guns of Somali pirates. 

    From the moment I first saw this trailer I had an idea that this would be a great film.  After all, combining Tom Hanks, director Paul Greengrass and a story of somali hijacking has gold written all over it.  And it sure lives up to its promise.  From start to finish, this is a great movie.  It’s extremely well-written and directed and the performances by not only Hanks but a largely unknown supporting cast are inspired. 

    While so many things impressed me about the film, what surprised me was how ultimately patriotic the film is.  The message is clear – you mess with one American you mess with all.  Ted Cruz isn’t in the background insisting that Phillips should only be rescued if he is a republican.  In fact there is not talk of politics or ideology.  He is an American and he is off limits.  Our military response is incredibly professional and intimidating and brings a sense of pride for our men and women in uniform and should bring a sense of fear to those wishing to do harm. 

    Since we are about to enter awards season I would like to make a prediction though – Captain Phillips could easily get shut out at the Oscars.  Don’t get me wrong – it will receive a huge amount of nominations, but with the serious movie muscle being released this fall, including last week’s awe-inspiring Gravity, Captain Phillips will have a challenging time taking home a trophy. 

    That being said, this is still a highly relevant film that needs to be seen.  Aside from the South Park episode where Cartman goes to Somalia to become a pirate, I’ve seen very little about piracy in Africa and I now feel there is a face to the crisis.  Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games) attempt to not only show the actions but explore the root causes of piracy as well.  It’s an eye-opening experience with a jaw-dropping conclusion.  A-