Film review: Captain Phillips (9 out of 10)

Captain Phillips
Captain Phillips

Just about everyone likes Tom Hanks and there’s a lot of movies that the screen superstar has done to be admired.

This latest film is another successful notch on the Hanks belt and one that is likely to produce at least an Oscar nomination.

And a truly remarkable performance from newcomer Bakhad Abdi certainly deserves all the plaudits he’s receiving.

The movie is the true story of American container ship captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) whose vessel is taken over by Somali pirates in 2009 - apparently the first US cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years.

The beauty of director Paul Greengrass’ (Bourne Ultimatum, Green Zone) latest effort is that this isn’t just a simple case of heroes v villains.

The story begins with the Somali men being bullied and coerced into taking part in raids on ships with the promise of making lots of money and escaping their poverty trap.

And all through the movie the humanity of both Captain Phillips and ‘Captain’ Muse (Abdi), the pirate leader, is very apparent.

Greengrass is an expert keeping the tension up and even if you know the outcome it still keeps you on your toes, especially when the American Navy get involved.

It’s a well known fact that Hanks and Abdi were kept apart until they confronted each other in their first scene and you can only marvel at how the novice doesn’t flinch faced with a seasoned pro.

Shooting in real-life ocean scenes obviously makes the whole experience far more real. However I’m not a fan of hand-held camera work when it’s not an action scene and the early scenes of driving to the airport ironically made me feel a bit seasick!

But if you enjoy your action movies character-driven then this is definitely for you and the 12A certificate means the whole family can enjoy a skilled director and some actors in superb form.

Film details:Captain Phillips (12A) 134mins

Director: Paul Greengrassl

Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley