‘Captain Phillips’ follows a cargo ship under the command of Captain Richard Phillips that gets boarded by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The film’s plot is thrilling and compelling. Though the film doesn’t stray too far from the book on which it’s based, which was co-authored by the real-life Captain Phillips, there are some elements of the plot that didn’t actually happen. The most significant plot element that didn’t happen is the relationship that appears between the captain and the pirates in the life boat later in the film. Though it’s not surprising that the film didn’t stay exactly true to the book, this could potentially be seen as problematic, though I think that it adds to the film. That’s because it helps to make the plot more compelling and it makes it easier to relate to the characters, especially Captain Phillips, and especially at the end of the film. The finale of this film is one of the most intense finales I’ve seen, though it only adds to the humanity of Captain Phillips.
The plot does have some weak points, though. For example, at the start of the film, we see very little of Captain Phillips family, with only his wife being briefly shown, and his children getting little more than a passing mention. This prevents there being any real sense of Captain Phillips having anything substantial to personally lose later in the film, which restricts the emotional attachment to Captain Phillips and his plight. While he may have something to lose, there is no sense of it being hugely substantial, as the audience feels no real attachment to it. (In contrast, the pirates don’t appear to have anything to lose at all, as they don’t really have much in the first place.)
The performances were quite good overall. Tom Hanks performance was superb, and the performance by Bakhad Abdi, who plays the pirate captain Muse, is also fantastic, especially considering that this is his first big role.
Overall, ‘Captain Phillips’ is an amazing film, with a really good plot and some fantastic performances. ‘Captain Phillips’ is easily one of my favourite films this year.