Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Tom Hanks

Rated PG-13



There are so many movies that come out that proclaim that they are “Based on a True Story” in order to make money, yet don’t have a thread of truth to them. Captain Philips is a perfect example of a movie that takes a true story and actually stays true to it, resulting in one of the most powerful, must-see movies of the year.

Captain Philips follows the 2009 hijacking of the US Mersk Alabama cargo ship and the subsequent kidnapping of its Captain, Richard Philips. Captain Philips portrayed by Tom Hanks, who gives the performance of a lifetime, one of his best since Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks hasn’t been in anything of this quality in a long time and it is a pleasure to see him in an Oscar noteworthy film like this again. He plays Philips convincingly as an everyman who is thrown into a terrible situation, and has to do what he can to save his crew, and his own life. The film does an amazing job portraying the Somali pirates by focusing on why they are doing what they are doing, rather than depicting them as two-dimensional villains. Barkhad Abdi plays the head pirate, and gives a really memorable performance, which is simultaneously frightening and empathetic.  Another reason that makes this film so great is Paul Greengrass’s excellent job directing. He previously has directed the Bourne movies as well as the incredible United 93, and with Captain Phillips he directs quite possibly his best film.. Greengrass does an admirable job making the film look realistic, doing the story justice by presenting it as it might have happened. Much like with United 93, even though you know what is going to happen at the end, it is still all the more intense.  

Overall, Captain Phillips is a perfect example of a film that does a true story justice, and is one of the most intense and powerful films you will see all year and is one that I hope will be remembered come Oscar season.