By Benjamin Coren
Film Review – Captain Phillips
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Runtime: 134 minutes
Before seeing Captain Phillips I reminded myself of the media coverage surrounding the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates.
The hijacking was one of the first successful hijackings of a ship under the American flag since the 19th century, and it also turned the world’s attention to the threat many crews of cargo ships face from Somali pirates.
Tom Hanks plays the role of Captain Phillips in this biopic of the events which occurred on the ship. The cast performances were excellent, most notably Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Muse, the pirate leader. The complex character is portrayed brilliantly with tones of greed and violence, but also desperation and maybe even a lack of confidence in his actions.
The sense of fear not just in the crew, but also from the pirates themselves comes across clearly in the film. Despite the danger the crew were in, I felt the film gave a real insight into the desperation of the pirates, the lengths they go to in order to feed their families, and the dangers they face from the western armed forces and those they answer to in Somalia.
The pace is fast and tense, and this only heightens as the pirates start to panic in their situation, and they soon realise that perhaps they are not in as much control as they thought.
This gripping story takes the audience onboard the Maersk Alabama and takes them on an uncomfortable, disturbing, and sometimes frightening journey which will certainly stay with them long after the credits have rolled.