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Film Review – Captain Phillips

Director:  Paul Greengrass
Screenplay: Billy Ray
Cast: Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi
Genre: Thriller

Rating Score
* – Poor
** – Average
*** – Good
**** – Very Good
***** – Excellent

Captain Phillips is based on the the true story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama ship hijacking. Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the MV Maersk Alabama, an unarmed container ship with orders to sail to Mombasa around the Horn of Africa.
Unfortunately for Captain Phillips and his crew, the ship is boarded by pirates and they are taken hostage. The leader of pirates Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) demands money from the Captain otherwise he will start executing his crew. The baptain tries by all means to keep his crew safe and to give the pirates what they want. But eventually things spiral out of control and out of his hands. Finally, a squad of American Navy Seals comes to the rescue before it gets totally out of control.

The cast did a great job in re-enacting this true story, especially Abdi. He made me feel angry at him for doing what he is doing and at the same time sympathetic for him because he also showed his vulnerable side. When I saw Hanks is playing the captain I had no doubt that he is going to be brilliant, and he did not disappoint. That’s what I expect from a veteran actor like him. While reading up about the movie just to get a bit of back ground on it, I found out the real-life Captain Phillips was not actually the hero they made him out to be. He ignored warning signs and did not follow a lot of safety measures which are supposed to be standard procedure. This criticism came from some of his crew member.  I hate it when Hollywood dramatizes and messes up some of the facts to make money or to make one of their guys look good. The hero always has to be American and perfect. He has to do the right thing at the right time, – it drives me crazy. While watching the movie I was actually more interested in the Somali pirates than the crew themselves and I found out that Abduwali Muse is serving a 33-year sentence for piracy, incarcerated in an American prison. But what exited me more was that there is a movie coming out called “The Smiling Pirate”, by Lesotho filmmaker, Kaizer Matsumunyane who has been corresponding with Muse for years. Now that’s a film I can’t wait to see. That is more like it should be, – Africans making movies about Africans and showing us the other side of the story. I not only want to see movies about Africans made by Americans but also movies about Africans made by Africans. Go watch Captain Phillips. It is an excellent movie plus the acting is brilliant. It has been nominated for six Academy Awards. But make sure to also go watch The Smiling Pirate when it comes out to get the other side of the story. And go read about it before you watch the movie, Captain Phillips has written a book about the hijacking episode.

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