Maddy’s Movies Review: “Captain Phillips” was somewhat disappointing compared to the other movies coming out this fall

Maddy Mesa


I might have had too high of expectations for “Captain Phillips.” I enjoyed the movie but some scenes had me wondering ‘when will this be over?’

“Captain Phillips” is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of Captain Richard Phillips and his 20 person crew of the Maersk Alabama.

The film begins with Phillips (Tom Hanks) at his home in Vermont packing for his next voyage, transporting goods in the Indian Ocean. There is a sweet moment between Phillips and his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener) on their drive to the airport that establishes Phillips as a family man, worried about his children and how they’re going to succeed and be happy with their lives.

Then boom — we’re in the middle of a coastal Somali village where the men prepare to go to work: finding cargo ships to hijack for money.

It’s a far cry from the worries of Phillips in America.

MM_CaptainPhillipsThe rest of the film follows closely to the actual events of April 8, 2009. Four Somali pirates board the Maersk Alabama and take Phillips and some of his crewmen hostage while the others hide in the engine room.

Hanks does a brilliant job as Captain Phillips. A bit of a hard-ass toward his crew, Phillips has nothing but the safety of his men in mind when a routine hijacking drill suddenly becomes the real thing. Calm and quick-thinking, Phillips defuses many intense situations as the four pirates, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), Bilal (Barkhad Abdirahman), Najee (Faysal Ahmed), and Elmi (Mahat M. Ali) take over the ship.

Ringleader Muse (Abdi) gives Phillips a run for his money. He is ruthless and smart. He fought his way for the faster boat before the hijacking, and uses a hooked ladder to board the ship. Muse sees through some of Phillips attempts to trick the pirates. Abdi did a wonderful job playing a man whose only opportunity for a better life in his country was stealing cargo ships and holding them ransom.

The first half of the movie was faster paced with the hijacking and the suspenseful moments of Phillips and the crew trying to survive. It was the second half, when the pirates and Phillips leave the ship in the lifeboat, where things got a little slow and at times dull.

I hate to say it, but I was getting pretty tired of seeing that orange life boat. Those scenes felt like nothing was happening even with the destroyer USS Bainbridge and some Navy SEALS from “SEAL Team Six” assembling for a rescue attempt.

I don’t know if it was the entire bag of candy corn I ate, or the realistic effects of the movie but I got a little seasick watching the five men in the enclosed lifeboat rocking back and forth, back and forth. It wasn’t until the end of the movie where I felt the action and emotion really picked up again.

I know Tom Hanks will get an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor in his role, which was one of the highlights of the film. His last scene brought me to tears and made sitting through some of the film’s more boring parts worth it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Barkhad Abdi was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Seeing these two actors face-off throughout the film was one of the better parts of the movie.

That being said I give “Captain Phillips” two-and-a-half out of four pirates or a B-. With all the other movies coming out this fall, it may be best to wait and watch this on DVD.