8 out of 10 – Thoroughly enjoyable
Choosing a film to watch with the family can be an arduous task. So many different tastes to accommodate. Timings. Content. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be watching a raunchy love scene with the parents.
So after a while of talking we decided on Captain Phillips, the retelling of the 2009 hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates.
Well what can I say? It has firmly cemented Tom Hanks (title role) as one of my all time favourite actors. The man is so diverse and can play absolutely anything he puts his mind to; from a bubbling ‘simple’ Georgian man that is Forrest Gump, to the child turned man in Big, to the cowboy leader of a group of toys in Toy Story, to a stranded loveable Krakozhian foreigner at The Terminal. He is basically unstoppable. Believable in every roll he undertakes and reels you into his character.
Captain Phillips was no exception.
The film starts with Phillips leaving to go and captain a food charity American cargo ship along the east cost of Africa (the horn). Along the journey the crew do a practise drill on what to do if pirates were to attack. Well guess what, in the midst of this drill armed pirates are spotted in the distance. They small pirate boats overdo their engines and come to a complete stop. Although this means a little rest bite for the Americans they do warn each other that the pirates come back, and come back they do. Armed with only fire hoses the 4 Somali pirates easily make their way onto the ship. With only 3 crew members (including Phillips) in the Bridge the rest of the crew are hiding in the engine rooms. It doesn’t take long for the Somali captain to go searching for the rest of the crew and is taken captive by them in exchange that the pirates leave the ship with $30,000, escape on the ships lifeboat and call a spade a spade. Since when did anything in real life go that smoothly. They take Phillips hostage (in the hope of ransom demands) and set sail in the lifeboat for Somalia.
The United States Navy and SEALs are called in to work the operation of getting Captain Phillips back without having him land in Somalia. There are then tricks on both sides before the Somali Captain agrees to negotiate on the Navy ship for a ransom amount for Captain Phillips’ safe return. This leads to the other 3 pirates being targeted through the lifeboats windows whilst Phillips is tied up and then smothered in the backlash of their blood as they’re killed. Phillips is then rescued and the film ends seeing him in the medical unit of the Navy ship.
Please take this note that I summed it up very briefly and it’s actually 100 times better than I’ve made it sound.
Barkhad Abdi makes his phenomenal debut, in which he won a BAFTA, as Somali pirate captain Muse. It is quite astonishing to believe that this is his first acting role (according to imdb) and he owns the part completely. My only complaint about his performance was that he sometimes slurred his words making it quite difficult to understand him. This of course could be my opinion only as I often do watch TV and films with the subtitles on so may get a bit lazy with listening.
As said I am under the impression that Tom Hanks can do no wrong and I truly believe he can’t. He played the role of Captain fantastically and I do not think for one second that he has been acknowledged for his performance in terms of awards at all. Though saying that this was just one of a bucket load of extraordinary films that were released last year and I wouldn’t want to take anything away from the Actors who won awards against Hanks.
I’ve found it difficult to look at this film with a negative eye. I truthfully enjoyed it from start to finish however I did find something about the story that hurt me. Captain Phillips is rescued, he’s taken aboard the navy ship and led to the medical quarters to be cared for. At this time Hanks is crying, struggling to breathe, to speak, to comprehend that he is covered in his captors’ blood, and all this time not one person, not one, gives him a hug. Now I know I’m a soppy cow but still the guy is traumatised, all he wants is a hug and for someone to talk to him on a human level but no, the Doctor remains military professional. I tell you, if it were possible to jump into the screen I would have and swooped him into my arms.
Finally the most important thing to remember about this film is that it is based on real life events. This actually happened to a Captain Phillips and I just hope he believes his story has been told with the upmost respect and truthfulness. Captain Phillips returned to the seas a mere 14 months after the hijacking attack. Muse is currently serving a 33 year prison sentence in Indiana.