Film Overboard: Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks stars in "Captain Phillips," the story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking.

Tom Hanks stars in “Captain Phillips,” the story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking.

By Alex Lally, ’14

“Captain Philips” is a historical drama/thriller directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) and starring Tom Hanks (“Forrest Gump”) in the title role with Catherine Keener, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, and Barkhad Abdi in supporting roles.

The film is based on the 2009 Maersk Alabama cargo ship hijacking from a group of Somali pirates, led by Abduwali Muse (Abdi).

Honestly, this film was a slight disappointment. The only exciting part of the film was the actual hijacking. The rest of the time, the film goes back and forth between thrilling and boring. The last hour of the film can be a real drag; it involves Philips and Muses’ band of pirates in a lifeboat trying to head back to Somalia. Philips tries to ease the situation of his kidnapping, by talking to them about why they hijacked the Alabama. It’s not that interesting and it drags on for a half hour, with occasional jumps to the crew of the Alabama or of the U.S military getting ready to find the lifeboat.

The real highlights of the film were definitely Hanks’ and Abdi’s portrayals of Philips and Muse, respectively. Philips has to adapt to the situation and has to keep strong, as he is the captain and it’s his responsibility to keep the ship safe. Muse is the intimidating captor who mocks Philips by claiming himself to now be the “captain.” Parts of the film just feel too “Hollywood,” such as when Philips tried to escape from the lifeboat to swim to one of the military ships. Even Hanks’ portrayal of Philips feels exaggerated, as the real Philips was almost nothing like how Hanks portrayed him.

Overall this film was just average and I do not like it when filmmakers go overboard with exaggerations of real events. I do recommend this film for anybody who hasn’t heard about the actual hijacking, so they can get the general idea of what happened. 3 out of 5 stars.

 

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