Saturday, 7 December 2013

Movie Review: Captain Phillips

 Based on the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea" written by Captain Richard Phillips, the film Captain Phillips tells the story of MV Maersk Alabama hijacking incident, which involves the captain's capture and hostage-taking by four Somali pirates in April 2009.

Although the film may be inaccurate (some of the crew members of the ship accused the film of being inaccurate in facts and does not tell the true story), but it's the most detailed and realistic hijack-survival films I've ever seen. The film successfully shows the constant struggle for survival in a life-or-death situation.

As usual, Tom Hanks delivers one of his best performances in this film, after realizing that the pirates are just poor and desperate Somali fishermen, he feels despair of his failure to convince them to surrender after knowing the inevitable fate awaiting his captors. In the emotional final scene, I find myself in tears during Hanks' powerful portrayal of a man experiencing post-traumatic stress.

However, the story is predictable, progressively slow and takes some time to build up to its climax. The details of the hijacking and subsequent hostage taking feels overly long and might put off a lot of audience. The shaky-cam technique, which is typically used in most Paul Greengrass' films in an attempt to make the film more realistic doesn't help much...even making it worst at times and hurt the film.

Actors who portrayed the four Somali pirates

Overall, it's not the greatest drama film ever made, but it's worth a watch to those who want a realistic, detailed, emotional drama which is 'based on a true story' (we can never know how true it is, are we?). It's not for those who seeks simple hardcore Hollywood action entertainment (otherwise you'll be disappointed).

Rating: 8/10

The best line in the film:

Muse:  It was supposed to be easy.  I take ship. Ransom.  Everybody go home. Nobody get hurt. 
Captain Richard Phillips: There's got to be something other than being a fisherman or kidnapping people. 
Muse: Maybe in America, Irish, maybe in America.

Left: Tom Hanks portrayal of the captain              Right: The real Captain Richard Phillips

The actual lifeboat from the ship taken aboard the USS Boxer after the incident for evidence.

 The real MV Maersk Alabama

The real Abduwali Abduqadir Muse after capture, sentenced to over 33 years in prison

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