Tom Hanks revives America’s sense of nationalism in Captain Phillips

Emanuel Beys, Contributing Writer

Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks as the title character, is a must see docudrama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film is based on the events of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama commercial ship by Somali pirates.

Tom Hanks gives one of his greatest performances as Captain Richard Phillips.  He plays a hero who selflessly sacrifices himself for the safety of his crew.  Hanks displays his full range of acting in the film, from portraying Phillips as a simple, average stern captain, to a brazen hero, and finally to a frightened and disturbed victim.

Captain Phillips clashes with Muse, the leader of the Somali pirate group, played by Barkhad Abdi.  At 27 years old, Abdi recently resigned from his former limousine driving profession and has shifted gears to the acting world.  Despite his inexperience, Abdi holds his own against his Oscar winner colleague.  Muse conveys a very frightening and intimidating feel, in spite of his small frame and scrawny physical appearance.

Though Captain Phillips marks Abdi’s first legitimate acting role, his ability to shape Muse’s vulnerable character is sure to interest moviegoers.   While the four pirates and Phillips are in the lifeboat as the navy closes in, Phillips and Muse enter a conversation in which they establish their bizarre mutual understanding and respect.

The film extends insight concerning the role of the notorious pirates, looking beyond their identity as money grabbers.  For instance, the pirates are rather picky when it comes to theft deals.  In fact, they are only willing to take deals starting at one million dollars and preferably, in cash.

Perhaps one of the most powerful scenes owes thanks to Hank’s memorable performance towards the end of the film. After the remaining pirates in the lifeboat are shot and killed by Navy SEALs, Hank’s character, Captain Phillips is brought on to the navy ship, covered in blood and clearly traumatized.  Hanks does a remarkable job portraying a timid and very shaken version of his diminished self, who is bewildered to still be alive.  The performance is so raw and real that it will undeniably lure all viewers in.

Captain Phillips is a movie that will leave you dismayed but still feeling good as you exit the theater. It is an intense drama that captures the audience’s attention.   Despite the questionability of the truthfulness of the film’s content (some of the ship’s crew members have raised an issue with it), Captain Phillips is a powerfully human film that will leave viewers optimistic.

 Captain Phillips