Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Catherine Keener, David Warshofsky

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Synopsis: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

I finally got round to seeing Captain Phillips on the weekend, and I think because of all the huge praise it has received I was actually a little underwhelmed. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, I thought it was really good, it just didn’t quite live up to what I was hoping for.

I thought my nails would be scraping huge chunks out of my chair due to unbearable tension throughout, and whilst there were scenes of great drama and tension, my chair stayed in tact. Maybe, like Gravity, it was a film I had to watch on some towering IMAX cinema screen. I also thought that the film was better suited to being on the ship rather than the life boat, that was where I was most engaged.

However, that aside, I can’t fault the performances from anyone involved, mostly, as usual, Tom Hanks. After about thirty years the guy is still very much at the top of his game. The closing scenes are close to acting perfection I guess. On the other end of the spectrum, the lead pirate played by Barkhad Abdi, who I think wasn’t even a professional actor, was absolutely amazing. He went from vicious, to scared and back again numerous times, all extremely convincingly. In fact, all of the non-professionals who played the pirates were brilliant.

In summary, I think Captain Phillips is probably a film that I needed to see when it first came out and all the buzz and excitement about it had yet to come to the fore, as I think this built my expectations up so high that the film never quite matched them, despite being very good.

3.5 clappers

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Excellent insights, Tom! 🙂
    I especially approve of the last paragraph: …a film that I needed to see when it first came out and all the buzz and excitement about it had yet to come…
    I remember seeing Stargate at the cinema. One of us had heard lots about it, had been aching to see it for ages. Two of us had heard about it, and decided they would see it. I hadn’t heard about it, had no special expectations, just wanted to have a god time.
    You guess the stars? 5 – 6 – 6.5 – 7.5 😉

  2. I cant wait to see this…what’s not to love about Tom Hanks! 🙂 I just saw Cloud Atlas…did you see that one yet? Its definitely one of those movies you need to watch at least twice !

  3. Well written review. Hanks seems to be making a comeback of sorts, with two popular movies in 2013. Saving Mr. Banks and Captain Phillips! Still have not watched either, but you have me interested in the pirate character.

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