Captain Phillips (12A)

Film

Action and adventure

Captain Phillips

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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Time Out says

Wed Oct 9 2013

‘Captain Phillips’ is the true story of a cargo ship skipper whose vessel was overrun by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009. It gives British director Paul Greengrass, the man at the helm of ‘United 93’ and the first two ‘Bourne’ films, licence to indulge two of his favourite storytelling pastimes: high-stakes tension and real-world politics.

It also sees Tom Hanks playing an unexceptional guy at the heart of an exceptional crisis. Bearded and paunchy, he’s a no-nonsense manager-type whose workplace becomes the focus of a Navy Seals operation. Greengrass doesn’t deny him heroic qualities – Phillips shows resilience and courage – yet there’s nothing superhuman about him. It’s one of Hanks’s most affecting performances in years. Watching one scene, in which he suffers a full-on emotional collapse, you’ll start to wonder if panic attacks are contagious.

Greengrass lands us on the enormous Maersk Alabama with little time for distracting set-ups – although straightaway he portrays the four pirates, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi), as something more than just foreign baddies, as he cuts between their preparations and Phillips setting off abroad. Quickly he establishes a no-frills economy that applies to the rest of the film. He creates claustrophobia when introducing us to the strange, ghostly world of this ship at sea in foreign waters.

It’s then, with an awful inevitability, that he presents the David-and-Goliath like attack on the ship by a pair of diminutive vessels, and finally encloses us with Phillips and his captors in a tiny lifecraft as they try to negotiate a ransom. This last section is a masterclass in containment and fear. It’s at this point that Goliath fights back – and for a few moments Phillips and his enemy appear equally vulnerable in the face of an impending US Navy attack-cum-rescue operation.

Much of ‘Captain Phillips’ feels like being slapped in the face by rigging and blasted by sea spray. It deftly combines a sense of measured calm with one of creeping hysteria. The emotions of its lead character are like a bottle of champagne whose cork only pops right at the end of the movie – although there’s little to celebrate. Some survive, some don’t. But the world remains as divided at the end of Greengrass’s tale as it was at the beginning, and if there are some telling moments of communication between Phillips and Muse, they always remain a world apart.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Oct 18, 2013

Duration:

134 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Paul Greengrass

Screenwriter:

Billy Ray

Cast:

Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Barkhad Abdi

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
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The Man on the Street

Never been a fan of Tom Hanks. That just changed big style over the last two hours and ten minutes. Gripping movie - searing performance. Oscar written all over it.

The Man on the Street

Never been a fan of Tom Hanks. That just changed big style over the last two hours and ten minutes. Gripping movie - searing performance. Oscar written all over it.

MikeT

From the start the outcome of this movie's fairly predictable but, that said, there were a few clever twists along the way to keep me interested. It's a good story, well acted, well photographed, etc. I enjoyed it. But it'll put you off any dreams of sailing around the world when your numbers comes up on the lottery.

Andy S

Pretty much what you expect, especially if you’ve seen the trailer. Hanks gives a typically solid performance until the final third when he’s utterly brilliant. The tension is supreme, particularly as you know what’s coming. The Somarlian pirates are a little typecast but I suppose they weren’t particularly pleasant people. A decent supporting cast but no real depth other than Phillips and the film feels a little overlong, especially the last 20 minutes. But it’s refreshing to see a blockbuster with brains, decent acting, gripping tension and in stunning 2-D! Will certainly bag a few gongs come March, and probably justifiably so.

steve

this was a shocker. first 90 minutes built up the tension well, the last hour made me want to pull my eyes out with a spoon. dragged on longer than christmas. do not go to the cinema to watch this film, unless you like sleeping in dark rooms surrounded by strangers. in which case - go see this film

Juan Carlos

Its a good but not a great film. Hanks is very believable and the interplay between him and the pirates especially inside the lifeboat is engaging as story moves to its inevitable conclusion of failure for the pirates. The talking / negotiation between Phillips and the leader of the pirates helps in explaining why the pirates have little option but to do it. A film to make you think about how the poor always get the raw end of the deal. A good three star film held back by a slightly pondering script / run time.

Zulusailor

As a ship's captain frequently trading in the Gulf of Aden Area, I can vouch for the authenticity of the marine and piracy scenes I have watched in the various trailers. In many respects they are terrifyingly lifelike. With all the drama in Nairobi and East Africa over the last few days it has been become especially topical and relevant. For more intuitive background to this sad part of the world and the life of pirates and those sailing in the area, check out Amazon Books - 'The Megiddo Revenge'. http://tinyurl.com/nkn3pz8

Zulusailor

As a ship's captain frequently trading in the Gulf of Aden Area, I can vouch for the authenticity of the marine and piracy scenes I have watched in the various trailers. In many respects they are terrifyingly lifelike. With all the drama in Nairobi and East Africa over the last few days it has been become especially topical and relevant. For more intuitive background to this sad part of the world and the life of pirates and those sailing in the area, check out Amazon Books - 'The Megiddo Revenge'. http://tinyurl.com/nkn3pz8