Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 18th October, 2013
Time : 134 minutes
Director : Paul Greengrass; Writer: Billy Ray (based on the book ‘A Captain’s Duty’ by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty); Music : Henry Jackman
Starring : Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmad, Mahat M Ali, Michael Chernus, Max Martini, Yul Vazquez, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Catherine Keener
Whew !! A simple, true story – of a container ship sailing off the Somalian coast, being boarded by pirates and the Captain’s (Tom Hanks) battle to get them off his ship – is transformed into a great cinematic experience, thanks to wonderful performances and superb editing which never lets the pace or the tension flag for even a second.
It was great to see how the various characters were built up…the Captain, a veteran, safety conscious, running a tight ship. His First Officer (Chernus), enthusiastic and ensuring his boss’s bidding is carried out. The Chief Engineer (Warshofsky), who carries out his duties admirably. And some of the crew, who try to revolt / complain, but are dealt with a firm hand.
Even the pirates, under pressure from the war lords back home to bring in another ship (they got $6mn for the last one a month ago) – the selection process by which they pick their comrades, their internal dynamics, one loose cannon – everything adding to the tension palpable through the film.
It is strange to imagine a small dinghy with four armed pirates subduing a mammoth container ship with 30+ crew but such is the reality of life in those parts and the power of automatic weapons. The end is a little filmy – and not every nation would unleash the kind of firepower sent to free the Captain – but it does make for a fitting finale
Tom Hanks is excellent in the title role, felt he got it just right, managed to emote without over-acting. The pirates were great as well, very convincing in their desperation, wanting to do business but not afraid to use force when needed.
The realism of the whole adventure was confirmed by my brother, who’s a shippie himself and has sailed those waters (around the same time, coincidentally)…while I haven’t read the book (the true account of Captain Richard Phillips) I cant help but marvel at the choices made by the film makers of which incidents to include in the film and which to leave out…makes a world of difference in keeping you hooked from start to finish !