This film is based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillip’s (Tom Hanks) ordeal against the Somali pirates that attacked his cargo vessel. The story begins with a brief introduction to the characters prior to boarding the United States container ship called the Maersk Alabama and goes through the entire experience until the final rescue of the ship’s captain.
While traveling in the Somalia Gulf of Aden, the Maersk Alabama on its way to Mombasa, Kenya, receives a warning about Somali pirates and to stay at least 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somali. Shortly after that they are approached by an unknown set of motorized boats, called “skiffs”, in high pursuit of the ship.
After trying to avoid the aggressive skiffs, the ship members realize that they cannot avoid their pursuit. The ship’s Captain Phillips notifies the US Maritime Emergency services that they are under attack by pirates and orders emergency maneuvers to try to avoid capture. During this evasive tactics they are able to cause one of the skiffs to wreck during the pursuit. The other skiff continues its approach and forces the captain to order the discharge of all the fire hoses to prevent them from boarding.
Eventually, no matter what the crew does, the four pirates led by Muse “Skinny” (Barkhad Abdi), finally board. They capture the captain and the Navigation crew but are unable to locate the rest of the crew. The Somali pirates begin to search for the crew while holding the navigation crew captive. During the boat wide search for the crew, First Mate Shane Murphy (Michael Chernus) tries to keep his men safe by preparing some elusive tactics, including using broken glass to slow them down. After several hours the crew is finally located and captured causing unrest by the pirates.
While the pirates were searching, Captain Phillips is able to send out a message to the US Maritime Emergency service. Shortly after, the nearby military ship USS Bainbridge is contacted and it begins its rescue attempt of the Maersk. With one injured and in fear of capture, the four pirates take the 30,000 dollars the ships has in petty cash and flees in the lifeboat with the captain. The rest of the story involves the US Navy’s rescue effort of Captain Phillips and the final capture of the pirates.
Director Paul Greengrass puts together a great portrayal of this historic event. He does a fantastic job of including so many details in the story that help bring the true event alive on film. Greengrass continues by showing how hard it was for this modern day hero to save himself and the crew from the pirates. A well-produced story that involves great acting and many details about this event and what this heroic but brave Captain had to endure.
Final Grade: I give this a B+, for its extensive details to the story and its excellent portrayal of the characters.
Release Date: October 11th, 2013
Director: Paul Greengrass
Runtime: 134 minutes (2 hours and 14 minutes)
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use.