Captain Phillips is based on the book A Captain’s Duty which in turn is based on real life incident of Maersk Alabama hijacking.
Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the MV Maersk Alabama at port in Oman, with orders to sail its cargo through the Gulf of Aden to Mombasa. Wary of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, he orders security precautions on the vessel. During one training exercise, Phillips notices two skiffs attempting to hijacking the ship but he succeeds in outrunning the pirates.
Four pirates return again the next day led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) in a faster skiff, carrying a ladder they had welded the previous night. Despite Phillips and his crew’s best efforts, the pirates are able to board and take control of the Maersk Alabama, capturing the captain while most of his crew hides in the ship’s engine room.
The rest of the story is about how the drama unfolds. The story is very good but it’s the execution and performance of actors which steals the show. After the first 5 mins I was on the edge of my seat. I remember coming out at interval with a big smile on my face and telling my brother “It’s an excellent movie.” That is without watching the complete movie.
Performance wise Tom Hanks is as good as always. I can’t say it is his best performance till date because I have seen him do better. His acting towards the end of the movie is truly outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised by performance of Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Muse. This is his first movie and his performance was excellent. I don’t know anything about the real Captain Richard Phillips. There is news that the crew members of Phillips accused the film of being grossly inaccurate in facts and the portrayal of Phillips. But irrespective of the fact that the movie is based on real life events or not it is a good movie.
The movie doesn’t show the pirates in completely bad light. There are times when you realize that they are being used by somebody else. Their poverty forces them to pursue a career in piracy. I couldn’t find much to criticize in the movie, It follows steady pace and doesn’t get boring. All in all a very good you wouldn’t regret watching it.