Compelling true life Somali pirate story with Tom Hanks Discuss this article
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.
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 bubbly 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 pirate Muse, they always remain a world apart.
Time Out Doha,