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Captain Phillips Movie Review

captain-phillips-posterCaptain Phillips is the story of Captain Phillips. If you are not familiar with that story, I suggest you Google him and read up. If you don’t want to do that, but are still curious about the story of Captain Phillips, go see the movie Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks as the titular Captain Phillips, because it is a really good movie.

I thought Captain Phillips looked like a great movie since I saw the first trailer. It 100% delivered. The tension hangs over the movie from the first scene – even as painfully slow as it is. The movie begins with Captain Phillips and his wife getting ready to send him off to sea and the slow build continues throughout the movie. If we’re supposed to care about Mrs. Phillips (Catherine Keener), we don’t. She rides with him to the airport, listens to his Boston accent and is never seen again unless you count an e-mail. The only thing that matters is Captain Phillips and the fate of his captors.

The film really gets started when we get to Somali and meet our cast of pirates. Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali were apparently picked out of 700-800 people at a casting call in – of all places – Minnesota. The pirates – specifically the leader, Muse – work in a very rough work environment. Local warlords show up in the morning and wake Muse from his sleep (next to an automatic weapon) and tell the people of his village to get out in the water and get them some ships. Somali pirates apparently put their piracy teams together with some sort of a draft on the beach after the local warlords show up. Muse talks to Captain Phillips about America and seems to think of himself as just a fisherman.

“They’re not here to fish.”

It is so weird to say that I enjoyed a movie about this horrific story, but I did. Tension hangs over the entire movie, which makes for some of those awkward laughs. I may have even smiled whenever a line from the trailer was uttered. I can picture myself watching Captain Phillips over and over on TNT on Sunday afternoons. It is infinitely quotable. “Everything gonna be OK.” They regularly say “Irish” and “Alabama.”

This is just a great, well-made film. Paul Greengrass (director of the Bourne movies) starts with some shaky cam early, but once the pirates reach the boat, that seemed to go away. Either that or I was into the movie enough to not notice. The final 15-20 minutes when SEAL Team 6 shows up are amazing. Hanks is great throughout, but his final moments are so good. So, so good. Tom Hanks-good.

Captain Phillips should be nominated for all of the Oscars. And all the hugs. It’s gonna be OK.

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