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Captain Phillips (2013)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 222,887 users   Metascore: 83/100
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The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

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(screenplay), (based upon the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" by), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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SEAL Commander
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Nemo
Mohamed Ali ...
Issak Farah Samatar ...
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Storyline

Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is - through director Paul Greengrass's distinctive lens - simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips' unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

captain | pirate | somali | ship | hostage | See more »

Taglines:

Out here survival is everything


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

11 October 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Captain's Duty  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,718,314 (USA) (11 October 2013)

Gross:

$107,100,855 (USA) (28 February 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air", Tom Hanks said the first time he met the actors playing the Somali pirates was when they started filming the pirates taking over the bridge. Paul Greengrass mentioned he did this intentionally to build up tension between the actors on board the ship and the actors playing the Somaili pirates. See more »

Goofs

In a nighttime shot, you can clearly see "Alexander Maersk" painted on the side of the vessel. Nine weeks were spent filming aboard the Alexander Maersk, a container ship identical to the Maersk Alabama. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Andrea Phillips: Okay. You all right?
Captain Richard Phillips: Yeah.
Andrea Phillips: You'd think these trips would get easier, but it's just the opposite.
Captain Richard Phillips: Well, I feel the same way, Ange.
Andrea Phillips: I know this is what we do. This is our life. But it just seems like the world is moving so fast, and right now things are changing so much.
Captain Richard Phillips: They sure are.
Andrea Phillips: I'll tell you something. It's not gonna be easy for our kids. They'll be going into a different world than the one you and I came into.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Up in Here
Written by Kovas (as Kovasciar Myvette)
Performed by Kovas (as KOVAS)
Courtesy of Downtown Music Services
By arrangement with Infinite Rhythm
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Near the top of the Hanks ladder
10 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on true events, Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips is the rarest of thrillers, the kind that relies on neither distracting special effects nor circumspect character development. Driven by a powerful, soul-baring performance by the inimitable Tom Hanks, the movie never lags, never oversells the plight of its characters, never reduces anyone or anything to mere caricature.

Hanks is the titular captain of the United States container ship MV Maersk Alabama, cruising along the coast of Somalia with a full load and heading toward the horn of Africa. Two skiffloads of armed Somalis close in, ready to board the vessel. They're pirates, working for a warlord in their impoverished country, and they smell opportunity.

If this were a standard action flick, we might see the heroism of Phillips and his motley crew as they fight the evil pirates and save the world. It's not so here. There are nuances afoot; for once, we get the perspective of the lead pirate (Barkhad Abdi) without falling into the easy trap of feeling empathy toward him.

The pirates board the giant ship, clearly pleased with their find. Muse (Abdi) quickly proves himself to be a strong, humanistic leader; he's single minded (where's the crew? where's the goods?) but not sinister. His gang includes a strong man with a quick temper and Muse's own relative, who'd begged to come along on the mission - a mission that, when successful, would go a long way to improving their lives.

The movie is told in two distinct halves: the time spent by the pirates on the Maersk as they search in vain for treasure and crew, and the time spent in the ship's lifeboat as they make their way to Somalia. The villains are conflicted and desperate. And armed. But they're quickly immersed in an impossible situation.

This is one of the toughest, most naked performances of Hanks' stellar career. It's sometimes painful and heart wrenching to watch. He's an Everyman, per usual, but he's not also a savior or a hero. He doesn't suddenly develop super strength and overpower the bad guys. He's just a guy in charge of a boat and its passengers.

Matching him wit for wit while frantically trying to keep his own wits about him is Abdi as the skinny, intelligent Muse, seemingly a veteran of high piracy (though not against huge container ships). Abdi is a wonder to watch; unpredictable and cunning but a little greedy and rapidly running out of viable options. Truly a talent to look out for, Abdi nails this role.

The ending is predictable only in the most general sense. Bill Ray's screenplay does not duck some plausible consequences to the actions of each main player and leaves us with a scene that is as emotionally overpowering as anything in Hanks' previous Philadelphia.

It seems that every time Tom Hanks makes a good movie, people begin to label it as "Oscar bait," as if the movie were created just as a vehicle to earn an award. Captain Phillips delivers a tight, action-packed story fraught with none of the usual missteps of the genre, and if it is indeed rewarded with the highest of honors, it will be well deserved.


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