Critic Reviews

83

Metascore

Based on 48 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
It's a breathlessly told movie; both meticulous and frenetic, sweat-soaked and methodical. It will take hold and won't let you go, and it's one of the most engaging movies of the year.
100
It falls to Hanks and his movie-star presence to anchor this ambitious enterprise, and he does some of his most impressive acting without saying a word.
100
The most gripping based-on-fact film so far this year.
100
Both Greengrass and Hanks are on award-deserving form in a riveting, emotionally complex and hugely intelligent dramatisation of a real-life ordeal.
100
This is an intense and complicated story, and the film doesn't rush it. It lets it unfold and build, methodically.
100
Captain Phillips is harrowing, inspiring, a must-see piece of moviemaking.
100
Even as Greengrass' signature kinetic style renders us nearly seasick and emotionally spent from the action, it's the work of Tom Hanks that makes this film unforgettable.
90
Captain Phillips could have stopped at simply depicting what happened; it's the steps it takes to examining why it happened that make it extraordinary.
90
Hanks and Abdi are so compellingly matched that unlike with most thrillers, it won't be the action climax in Captain Phillips that'll stick with you. It'll be that aftermath, which gets at the emotional toll of terrorism in a way few movies have.
89
While this is arguably Greengrass' best film, it's almost certainly his most urgent.
88
The performances and Greengrass's way with action immerse us and make Captain Phillips a tight, taut,edge of your seat thriller even if you remember the ending.
88
Captain Phillips works precisely because Hanks isn't a muscle-bound, gun-toting figure (nor does he turn into one during the course of the movie). Placed in an untenable position, he uses guile and intelligence instead of brawn and weapons to enhance his survival chances.
88
Mr. Hanks, in yet another in a long line of diverse character studies, does a beautiful job as the voice of reason and logic, trying to inspire bravery and maintain order amid the noise and panic. In the big emotional scenes, as well as the small, nerve-jangling scenes, he is an artist at the top of his skill.
88
In Captain Phillips, director Paul Greengrass pulls off the same remarkable feat he accomplished with "United 93": He takes a true story in which the outcome is already known and transforms it into a gripping, wrenching, devastating thriller.
88
The climactic rescue by Navy SEALs is riveting. But it's Phillips' devastating after-the-fact shock that leaves the most haunting impression in this ambitious, taut and captivating thriller.
88
It might have all been another Hollywood-formula flick with American might taking on the alien other. But Greengrass gives Phillips and Muse the time, aboard a covered lifeboat, to discover shared beliefs and fears.
80
Captain Phillips is a triumph of solid, professional and sometimes inspired film crafts, deserving of all the plaudits that come its way.
80
The film rips right along and never relinquishes its grip.
75
It's hard to imagine Captain Phillips in the hands of any other filmmaker -- and Captain Phillips in the hands of Greengrass looks exactly like anyone familiar with his work would expect. It does justice to the material even while playing too conscientiously by the book.
70
There is something too dry and austere about Greengrass and Ray's telescoped vision, which touches only fleetingly on the pirates' motives, the suffering of the Somali people and the collateral damage of global capitalism.
70
It's when the Somalis spirit Phillips away in a closed lifeboat that Captain Phillips becomes a great thriller, in part because Barry Ackroyd's camera is stuck inside with the characters and its jitters finally seem earned.
70
The film succeeds on its own terms - an exciting entertainment that makes us feel good about the outcome, and about the reach of American power, rather than its limits. Yet the narrative container is far from full. There isn't enough incident or complexity to sustain the entire length of this elaborately produced star vehicle.
63
It works too hard to keep matters on an even, we're-all-more-alike-than-different keel, which is just one part of its chief problem of forcefully conveying information and intent.

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