Tom Hanks' new film Captain Phillips depicts the true story of Somali pirates taking a cargo ship hostage and the man who risked everything to save his crew. The movie does an excellent job of telling this incredible story. It has a few faults, but is definitely a film worth seeing.
Although there are a few pieces of the film that are fictionalized, most of the action and the dialogue in the film is remarkably true. Phillips goes to extreme measures to carry out his duties as captain of the Maersk Alabama to the point where you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat in a panic, even though the sequence of events is easily searchable on Google. The dialogue between Somali leader Muse and Phillips is taken almost word for word from the captain's memoir about the incident, A Captain's Duty.
The acting in the film is just incredible. Tom Hanks gives his regular outstanding performance, although his Boston accent waivers from time to time. His best scene is the final one, which is one of the rare fictionalized portions of Phillips' story. It will bring tears to your eyes as you watch him give such an amazing performance. However, the best acting in the film is that of Barkhad Abdi, who portrays Muse. You sympathize with his character, while still wanting him to not succeed. His line delivery is perfect. Abdi is not even an actor. He just auditioned for fun when he saw the notice that the director needed Somalis for the roles.
While the film does a great job of telling this story, it does have several problems. The main one is the camera work. There are often unnecessary extreme close-ups, supposedly to increase the dramatic feel. However, some do not make sense at all. In the beginning of the movie when Phillips is talking to his wife, there is a shot like this on her wedding ring. There was no need to explain this was his wife, as it had already been mentioned in their talk. Then if you look, Richard Phillips never wears a wedding ring. It was just a weird choice to show it. If the extreme close ups do not bother you, the rest of the camera work might. Many of the scenes are shaky from the handheld work and gave several people in the theatre motion sickness. It is not too over the top, but the fact that it bothered a handful of movie patrons is worth mentioning. Lastly, like many others that have been released lately, Captain Phillips has a long run-time. While most of this is important to get the facts across, the first 15 minutes or so of the film could have been eliminated without affecting anything in the plot.
While Captain Phillips is long, it is worth it. The almost entirely true tale of the Maersk Alabama is a powerful story that deserves to be seen, especially to watch newcomer Abdi steal the spotlight. The script will put you on the edge of your seat and Tom Hanks will put you in tears.