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on 16 November 2013
The Steelbook artwork needs to be changed. The team which approved this artwork should be fired for being unimaginative and lazy.
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on 19 January 2014
I had avoided this film as it disrespects what really happened and there is a legal case ongoing about it.

Edit (15/04/14) Anyway, finally watched this film as I got it from Lovefilm. It is actually quite a good film. It is a bravado piece of film making.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for Peter Greengrass as he has made some shocking and thought provoking films in the past - United 93 is an ordeal but absolutley brilliant - he got the backing of the relatives for that film to give it gravitas.

All I was thinking when I watched Captain Phillips is 'what bits are true and what bits are fiction' and this did spoil my enjoymnet of it somewhat.

I did notice the dsiclaimer at the end of the film stating that some parts and characters of it were fictionalized but, obviously, it is nearly impossible to tell which parts and who. One thing I have seen from several different sources is that Captain Phillips is no where as heroic and brave as he is depicted in the film but then again the source material is his own account of what happened so no bias there then...

Anyway, I have upped my rating from 1 star to 2 stars as it is quite a brilliant piece of film making - shame about the source material and inaccuracies though...
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on 23 February 2014
Ever since a civil war brought down Somalia's last functional government
in 1991, the country's 2,000 miles of coastline has been pillaged by foreign vessels. A United Nations report in 2006 said that, in the absence of the country's coastguard, Somali waters have become the site of an international "free for all," with fishing fleets from around the world illegally plundering Somali stocks and freezing out the country's own rudimentarily-equipped fishermen"
So they turned to PIRACY!.
But even so.. how is it that 4 "pirates" took a ship of this size.. with 1 AK47 this would not have happened.. with a couple of .50 cal guns ?? No horror for capt Phillips!
but no guns for the people have government take Millions /Billions in taxes to provide big ships to keep us safe. But really they don't!
I am, grateful to this well made film for exposing government for what it is.. big state big taxes & waste! the russians suggested attacking the pirates at source but that would have ended the problem... no need for a big government to look after us then ....end of a big government budget can't have that!
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on 22 October 2013
In 1972 there was a break-in at the Watergate Hotel; in 1976 there was a film made about that break-in, All The Presidents Men.

In 2008 some Hollywood celebrities were robbed; in 2013 there was a film made about the robberies, The Bling Ring.

The above are examples of two separate real life incidents that were made into films; one deserved to be made into a film and the other, well also should have been made in to a film, a TV Movie. Captain Phillips is more like The Bling Ring i.e. I probably should have seen this on TV as really the story is not that interesting that it had to be made into a film. Actually, a documentary lasting around 60 minutes would have been better.

The film starts well enough as we see that the two time Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks is playing Captain Phillips. The first half of the movie moves along fast enough with the film showing the struggles Phillips faces with a lazy crew that keep mentioning the `Union'. We then see Phillips email his wife and he reminds her that his crew needs to `shape up'. This email comes after the first attack that Phillips decides to ignore despite protests from his crew that he should turn back or at least slightly change course.

Spoiler Alert: Eventually the ship is taken over by Pirates. With the crew hiding is up to Phillips to save the day, until ignoring Phillips orders one of the unnamed crew members (all the crew members have no names except for someone called Murphy) decides to be a hero and disarms the leader of the Pirates. Phillips is then taken hostage by the pirates on an escape raft. The raft is tracked nearly all the way by the ship.

While the first half of the movie is reasonably interesting never rising above average the second half on the life boat is completely boring. Once Phillips is off the ship, all the tension is removed from the film especially considering that the pirates now face the might of the US Navy. It's hard to feel any tension at all especially considering just how outmatched the pirates are. It's more a formality that the pirates are captured or killed.

Overall Captain Phillips is a lacklustre film based on a true story that probably shouldn't have been made into a film.
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on 15 April 2014
I am a hater of shaky cam, and this is the worst example of it I have ever seen. I just couldn't watch it, and I am a big fan of Tom Hanks and really wanted to.

The shaky cam being on an already unstable boat sent me over the edge and I felt nauseous within ten minutes. Hard to follow what is going on as well when the camera is being shaken liberally whilst filming.

Very disappointed. Don't buy this if you have an issue with shaky cam.
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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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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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 November 2013
Captain Phillips, (2013). A biographical and action/adventure flick, this is 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. It is based upon the book A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips. Screenplay was by Billy Ray; direction by British Paul Greengrass, acclaimed master of suspense, when logically there should be none, see United 93 , the Bourne films.

To quote Sony Pictures Entertainment, the releasing studio, as reprinted at IMDb:

Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is - through director Paul Greengrass's distinctive lens - simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips' unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

Hanks,Tom Hanks: The Landmark Collection [DVD] ably carries the picture in another Oscar-worthy performance. Bdi, portraying Muse, powerfully balances Hanks' performance. Catherine Keener is featured in a small part as Andrea Phillips, the Captain's wife. The movie is 134 minutes of pure, heart-stopping suspense. Though, logically speaking, we know that Phillips survived. Also, logically speaking, we know that this handful of pirates as portrayed, half-dressed, probably hardly half-fed and educated, stoned on "khat," and probably no better off than their pirate ancestors of centuries ago, who inspired the line "the shores of Tripoli," in the U.S. Marine anthem, cannot possibly prevail against the might of the twenty-first century U.S. Navy. Which has clearly spent millions of dollars in men and materiel to ensure that the captain is freed. Nevertheless, the film left me limp. A masterful thriller.
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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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VINE VOICETOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 November 2013
The beating heart of this film is the rock like performance of Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass's fast paced direction that requires a seat with a reinforced edge since it is the only part of the cinema furniture you sit on during the course of this enthralling film. It is the story of the attempt on 8th April 2009 by Somali pirates to hijack the United States-registered cargo vessel, the Maersk Alabama, as it headed towards the port of Mombasa some two hundred or so miles off the east coast of Africa. Hanks plays mild mannered US Captain Richard Phillips an ordinary man driven to extraordinary resistance. The film however has an significant undercurrent not least attempting to set out, albeit rather too briefly, the deep poverty which drives former Somali fishermen to risk life and limb in the highly dangerous and parlous pursuit of these huge vessels. Certainly the presence of the drugs and gangs are a factor not least the evidence that the khat trade is partially funded by ransom money from pirates as lucrative cash-based business, based on the culture of khat chewing in Kenya and Somalia. Yet in this case the young men in question meet a formidable if terrified opponent.

The action in the film starts from the outset and is taught and breathless as Somali pirates chase Hanks ship and attempt to board it. These scenes are brilliantly directed and the camera work is first rate. The presence of no firearms on board gives them a huge advantage and eventually the story plays out as they eventually board the ship but Hanks does all in his power to thwart their efforts while his crew hides in the engine rooms below silent, scared and weapon-less. The tension in the film is often unbearable. Throughout the pirates led by Abulwali Muse, is brilliantly played by Barkhad Abdi, watch as the power politics and their logistics shift. The presence of huge US Navy vessels in the area stand in sharp contrast to their old speedboats whose engines cut out and stall. The interplay between Hanks and Abdi is the clash of two cultures with the middle class American Captain and a young man in hock to gang culture. Ironically it is Muse who is the bigger victim, his prospects are doomed from the start. He needs to make a huge sum from the capture of the Maersk Alabama and yet as soon as he steps on that ships deck it is Phillips who is the master at sea. To tell the second half of the film would be too much of a spoiler suffice it to say that it builds to a palpable sense of danger and an agonising conclusion.

Throughout it is almost impossible to fault the tight script of screenwriter Billy Ray and Paul Greengrass's surefooted direction. His previous films like "United 93" showed that he can take the biggest of themes and skilfully weave a superb film from such fabric. With Tom Hanks as his big name star in "Captain Phillips" he squeezes out his finest performance in years and you sweat and perspire along with him. The real skill of this film however is not to lock it down as a simple morality tale about one man's heroism, but to bring in the weight global forces and show that the pirates are dwarfed by this and their own backgrounds. At the end of the day the overriding impression of this superb film is the portrayal of a group of unskilled, impoverished young men being forced by a sizeable militia into risking all for the production of ransom money who are literally all at sea. "Captain Phillips" is easily one of 2013's finest cinematic moments.
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