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Captain Phillips

  PG-13 Closed Captioning

Paul Greengrass

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Plot Summary

Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. Based on a true story, the film focuses on the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two-time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks, Best Actor, 1993, Philadelphia; Best Actor, 1994, Forrest Gump), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. The two men are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

93%
  • Reviews Counted: 235
  • Fresh: 219
  • Rotten: 16
  • Average Rating: 8.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: This is acting of the highest order in a movie that raises the bar on what a true-life action thriller can do. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Oct 11, 2013

Fresh: This is one of the year's best movies and it features Tom Hanks' strongest work in more than a decade. But it's a live wire, time bomb of a film that, when it finally releases, leaves your nerves scrambled. – Tom Long, Detroit News, Oct 11, 2013

Fresh: We're in the steady hands of Paul Greengrass, a director fully aware that convincing crisis stories involve conflicting interests and passions. – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Dec 9, 2013

Fresh: Captain Phillips manages to expose us to a few things that are unusual in a thriller, including sympathy for the enemy and, in Hanks's performance, the frailty that is the other side of heroism. – Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, Oct 11, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

CG review

A true action thriller with Tom Hanks giving much effort to play this captivating character is irresistible. “Captain Phillips” as suspenseful and diligent as it is, is one of the best films I’ve seen all year. After I saw this film I walked out of the theatre with my eyes wide and my hands clinched because I knew that I had seen a legit movie. The way they were able to make the setting out at sea must of been thought provoking. They constantly have aerial views of the ship, whether they used green screens or not I don’t know, but if they actually did go out at sea I must applaud them for their camera work. The take they had on this film was so involving of not only the captain, but the pirates also. Unlike the news or some stories have made it the filmmakers show us where the pirates came from. It makes you feel sympathetic toward there scavenge. I was very amazed with the acting from the Tom Hanks and a new actor Barkahd Abdi. Tom Hanks as usual gives the performance of a life time getting the accent spot on and making himself every bit of the same as the real “Captain Phillips”. Barkahd Abdi being that he has never acted before was a huge surprise seeing that he was amazing even compared to a well experienced actor. They both left me wide eyed and kept me interested in the story more than I already was. Now the director Paul Greengrass who directed two out of three of my favorite agent trilogy “The Bourne Trilogy” did a phenomenal job capturing every moment of this heart pounding event. And I know there’s a fourth “Bourne” film, I just choose to neglect it and I am sure you know why. With an event as big as this it is a nightmare to bring days of terror into a two and a half hour film. It’s a little hard to believe that Greengrass pulled it off. What makes me oo and ah is that Paul was able to capture the lives of “Captain Phillips”, the pirates, and the actions of the U.S military. what starts out as a highjacking becomes a very emotional and heart pounding experience. “Captain Philips” is some-what incomparable to many other films. I can’t say how much I love film unless you want to read dozens of pages. The captivation, the storytelling, and the high anticipation that went into this film makes it well over qualified to be looked into.

A GRIPPING REAL-LIFE THRILLER FULL OF BRILLIANT PERFORMANCES!

Coming straight from the headlines and adapted with a magnificent documentary-style attention to detail, "Captain Phillips" is a fiercely well-crafted thriller that would be almost impossible to believe if it weren't true. Boasting incredible performances, exceptional camerawork, and tense direction, this is one of the rare Hollywood biopics that manages to stay grounded in believability while consistently subverting our expectations at practically every turn. Director Paul Greengrass, along with Tom Hanks in one of the best performances of his entire career, place us right in the middle of one of the most shocking newsworthy events of the last decade. And even though most of us know the end of the story, the film effortlessly generates so much nerve-shredding suspense that we feel like we need to be debriefed afterwards. Simply put, it's, by far, one of the best movies of the year.

In April 2009, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes a routine job commanding a cargo ship from Oman to Kenya. Primarily carrying food aid, this American boat is soon hijacked off the coast of Somalia by the pirate Muse (Barkhad Abdi) and three other accomplices (Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. Ali). But this isn't just a simple act of terrorism: it's desperation that leads the Somalis to take violent action. And as the standoff quickly escalates, the U.S. Navy responds with overwhelming force while trying to make sure that the kidnapped Phillips gets out alive.

This is a viscerally exciting movie far beyond the clichéd jolts Hollywood typically supplies. As he did with "United 93," Greengrass purely insists on gritty realism in every frame. Filming on real ships and playing out dramatic action sequences without any digital trickery pays off hugely in the long run, as we constantly feel both the expansive emptiness of the ocean and the claustrophobic spaces in the vessels, especially in the lifeboat where the flick's big final showdowns play out. Each moment looks like it's happening live, and we're right in the middle of it. This is particularly impressive considering the fact that Hanks is onscreen most of the time. But he manages to entirely disappear into the role, so as the terror rapidly closes in on him, we feel it too. In the breathlessly intense climax and epilogue alone, he emotionally goes beyond anything he's done before, which is saying a lot. I won't give away what happens the end, but let's just say you'd have to be totally made of stone not to be moved by his escalating performance. But the film isn't just about him, as the rest of the cast, as newcomer Abdi fantastically holds his own as the desperate pirate leader who know's he's running out of options. He, Abdirahman, Ahmed, and Ali are all non-professional actors, and yet they bring a haunting sense of believability to their characters that resonates from start to finish. It's unreal how authentic these performances are. The film is perhaps even more powerfully deepened by the way it additionally explores the roots of Somali piracy in the country's brutal civil war and the collapse of its fishing industry due to foreigners' overfishing. And as usual, Greengrass refuses to narrowly vilify anyone, instead putting the events into a much larger context. This makes the flick's insistent urgency a lot more resonant than mere "in-the-moment" thrills. It's also a thought-provoking exploration of the unpredictably perilous world we live in today.

"Captain Phillips," with its queasy, you-are-there immediacy and nerve-racking sequences of impeccable tension, is quite simply a flick you have to see to believe. From the second I sat down to the moment the credits appeared, the movie simply captivated me with its raw, unflinching intensity. It simply goes without saying that Hanks deserves a Best Actor nomination for his unforgettable role here, as he manages to deftly capture a blend of bravery, honor, and pure terror in one emotional powerhouse performance. Combined with brutal, brilliant supporting work from Abdi, Abdirahman, Ahmed, and Ali, along with Greengrass' expert direction and Billy Ray's involving script, this sensational action-thriller not only easily raises the bar for its genre, but it delivers a powerful lesson of the human psyche that shouldn't be forgotten. Trust me when I say this film is fully worth your time.

Really Good Movie Made Great by the Last Acene

The last scene in this movie is what makes it "great," instead of being just "really good." I love the scene, and I love the story of how it came to be. While there's some nice material covering it in the extras, I wish they had interviewed the Corpsman (not an actress, didn't even know she was going to be making a movie that day), as well. She was so *believable*, it made Hanks' performance all the more impactful.

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