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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2014
It is not often that I am gripped and on the edge of my seat with the content of a film but this proved that some films can still do this for me. As a son of an engineering officer I spent many times aboard ship, container ships particularly. This film showed the sheer realism of life aboard ship and the dangers, and for once we have a film set on board a ship that shows this realism correctly. The suspense will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the film, building gently and ultimately to a thrilling crescendo. The ending is handled skillfuly and the mixture of raw emotions is heartrending.
Tom Hanks proves yet again what a wonderful character actor he is.
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on 28 June 2014
Paul Greengrass brings his trademark shaky camera to this superbly taut thriller. A human story about resiliance, bravery and the strength of character.

A cargo ship embarks on a long journey across some dangerous waters. The crew are well trained in what to do in the event of a pirate attack but remain unprepared for the reality of the situation. Captain Phillips is a normal nice guy who is suddenly plunged into this dark and dangerous world. His apparent over caution gives way to someone who is there to protect his team. The crew stand firmly by him as they realise he is their only hope.

Tom Hanks imbues Phillips with some real humanity. The change he makes from a quiet, respectful leader to all out negotiator and saviour is a delight to watch. This is Hanks at his absolute best, a defining role in an already illustrious career.

His relationship with his captors is what grounds the film in reality. It is also a testament to the writers that they have not demonised the pirates. They are misguided and desperate, not evil. They are inexperienced and violent but not sadistic. This is business.

Greengrass injects energy into every tense scene. Especially the seige of the cargo ship. The camera moves around the ship with ease and brings the audience right into the centre of the action. Tension is cranked right up and not a moment is wasted. Greengrass has a canny ability to catch every flicker of emotion on the actors' faces and every detail within any given scene, giving more weight to the situation at hand.

The film never stops tugging at your emotions. It throws everything at you. Even in its final scenes the audience is left reeling at the emotional plight Phillips has been through.

A masterclass in tension.
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Captain Rich Phillips (Tom Hanks) was taking his American cargo ship on a routine voyage off the coast of Africa, when a small band of armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. While most of the crew stayed hidden, the pirates took Captain Phillips hostage in a lifeboat.

This movie, based on a true story, is extremely intense and exciting, so frightening, I don't think I could have watched it on the big screen, but on DVD, it was riveting and enlightening. There isn't any real violence until the very end, but the drama is kept at a unbearable level by the non-stop yelling of the pirates.

Their leader is played by Barkhad Abdi in his first acting role. He is outstanding and deserves his nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Tom Hanks delivers a powerful performance, remaining calm and providing a balance to the pirates' hysteria.

The script manages to elicit sympathy for the pirates because of their miserable lives; they live in abject poverty, forced to hijack ships by their warlords or die. The movie is excellent and highly recommended.
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on 11 February 2014
Oh! Wow!, This ones a masterpiece, I cant say enough good about this incredible roller coaster of a Film. Im not in the least bothered about it being either from an actual event or just a story of modern day pirates. What matters to me, is it well written, does it have a beginning, a Middle and an end game that satisfy's. The Answer is yes, it ticks just about every box. Im not going into details, thats for buyers to find out themselves, suffice to say, the picture quality is stunning as is the sound track, and the hardware used in this film surpasses anything like Under Seige. (no disrespect).... Its brilliant screenplay and writing, which could have easily been overdone. For buyers expecting the usual Gung Ho USA trigger happy marines, or blowing up things, I found it really refreshing to see that the US is capable of using Guile, cunning, and a moderated theme through out, the ending was suitably very emotional, and one cannot fail to be moved, by What Captain Philips has to endure to the very last. hats of to Tom hanks, and all the cast and producer/ Director who made this such a believable movie. Also The hardware is almost all real, from the container ship to the pirates clapped out skiffs, to the US navy frigates or destroyers, what ever they use these days. It was hard to find Any CGI in this film, or anything that looked fake. Recommended, for those who liked, "Under Seige," "The Sum of all Fears" or "Crimson Tide" type of film, although There isnt a direct connection, because this film deals with a civilian Ship under siege from a handful of, Off their heads Pirates, no super power head to head, or other deviation from the main story. recommended without question:)
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on 27 February 2014
One cannot begin to explain to someone who hasn't yet seen this movie just how gripping they will find it, and the exceptional movie experience that they are in for.
Tom Hanks is spell binding throughout but his performance after the end game is mesmeric.
After watching the film, read about what has since happened to the ship at the centre of the story following the portrayed events and rest easy that you don't have a life on the ocean waves.
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on 26 April 2014
This movie doesn't disappoint, Tom Hanks is amazing, excellent supporting cast in the way of Bharkhad Abdi and the other Somali's and the wider cast in general. It was tense, from the start, believable and incredibly moving too. Excellent production too.
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on 4 December 2016
If I could add a few stars to the Film Rating I would. Tom Hanks is better than Outstanding as the Primary Hostage, and gave an astonishing performance; that superbly captured the the tension, drama, and complexity of what to us mere humans was an impossible situation. The film captures superbly the intricacies and tension involved in a fast moving hostage scenario.

It also highlights perfectly the extraordinary level of training and skills possessed by the Navy Seals. Much is written about the Navy Seals involved in this kind of situation, most of it aimed at popularist dramatisation for circulation figures. This Film however brings into sharp focus, the reality, the extrordinary level of the Navy Seals Professional Skills, and the Co-ordination required in these kinds of situations; in a way I have not seen before. It is as close to the real thing as you can get in a film

It is impossible to recommend this Film too highly. Tom Hanks is outstanding, and the whole Production Team have done an incredible job putting together a tense, realistic, record of events of a Real Life situation that took place in 2009. By the time it ends, you gain an immense respect for Tom Hanks ability as an Actor ..... but above all else, you gain a true perspective on the superb level of training and expertise possessed by the Navy Seals, and an enduring, respect for their professional skills.

Truly .... Truly ..... Outstanding ....., it is an unmissable film, run dont walk to watch it.
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on 8 January 2014
Tom Hanks gives an excellent performance as the captain of a container boat who has to go through the famous area off the coast of Somalia riddled with pirates.
This is an incredible ride of a film from the pirates managing to get on board to them capturing the Captain and trying to escape.
The actors are extremely believable and deserve the plaudits for their parts in this film. The story does not appear 'hollywoodised' in that everything isnt blown out of all realms of plausibility and flows along in a manner that keeps you on the edge of the seat wondering how everything is going to unfold.
As an aside, it was nice to see a small part from the Somalians point of view and does not attempt to demonise them.

Finally a film that isn't a rehash/remake as so many seem to be recently.
Kudos to all involved. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2013
Paul Greengrass directs a tense, thrilling masterpiece in this true story which sees Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips of the cargo ship Alabama who gets kidnapped by Somali pirates after they seize his ship and has to fight to stay alive. Tom Hanks gives one of his best performances as he tries to outwit the pirates. The largely unknown cast that make up the rest of the film are all also excellent from the pirates themselves to the rest of the Alabama crew and the marines that get called in to rescue Phillips. This is a film that will have you on the edge of your seat.
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on 24 October 2013
Cinema has come a long way since Under Siege. The titular hero of this story is no expert in hand-to-hand or weapons and tactics. He's definitely not a cook.

Tom Hanks is Richard Phillips, captain of the Alabama cargo ship, en route to Mombasa via Somali no-man's water. Muse (impressive newcomer Barkhad Abdi) arrives with a handpicked crew of pirates, and they board the Alabama. Nail-biting tension and hostage-taking will follow. It's best that one goes into the film knowing no more.

Paul Greengrass is the best director working today in the authentic documentary aesthetic. He knows that the drama is in the detail. Captain Phillips' most thrilling moments are when Greengrass is most exacting and pedantic about characters' relative positions within the environment. That sounds kind of formal, but then Greengrass's shaky-cam does veil an essential precision. He focuses on the immediate situation, leaving us the viewers to picture it in the wider political context.

As with Kathryn Bigelow, Greengrass's anti-polemical style is occasionally a curse but mostly a blessing. The action may occur on the surface, but there's depth beneath the objectivity - perhaps best encapsulated in the image of three mighty US warships surrounding a tiny craft in international waters.

The implicit themes are globalisation and imperialism. The opportunism of the pirates is met with a defence based on an escalating chain of command. It's chaos versus structure; improvisation versus meticulous contingency planning. Money is nothing without an entrenched system to contain it and protect it. Sorry, Africa - we'll throw food parcels in your direction but we won't help you build long-term infrastructure plans, and you sure as hell can't step on "our" turf.

When the pirates are first approaching the Alabama, Muse presents his gang as seaborne law enforcers, and I couldn't help thinking of the United States' assumed position as "world police"...

More than anything, Captain Phillips reminds us of the power of Hanks and Greengrass, two servants of cinema at the absolute top of their game, and that should be recommendation enough. It's worth paying to see - please don't pirate it!
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