Two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks teams with Oscar-nominated director Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray to tell the true story of Richard Phillips, a U.S. cargo-ship captain who surrendered himself to Somali pirates so that his crew would be freed. The MV Maersk Alabama was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was surrounded and boarded by a gang of hardened bandits led by the determined Muse (Barkhad Abdi). As the crew of the Maersk Alabama rushed into a fortified “secure room” created for just such an incident, Phillips and Muse found themselves in a tense standoff that threatened to erupt into violence at any moment. Catherine Keener and Michael Chernus co-star.
“for a story that pits locals versus Americans in the Middle East and boasts a climax that involves Navy SEALs, U.S. choppers and warships, the taut screenplay by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, The Hunger Games) essentially makes no mention of religion, al-Qaida or the war on terror, concentrating on the more essential reality of impoverished young men, some of them fishermen, pushed to extreme measures by the big bucks bandit bosses offer for Western hostages, for whom they can demand millions. It’s “just business,” as so many criminals throughout history have said.” — The Hollywood Reporter – Todd McCarthy
“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. The result is an intense experience that will leave many viewers exhausted by the time the 2 1/4-hour running time expires.” — ReelViews -James Berardinelli