Captain Phillips tells the true story of the 2009 hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates. It was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in over two hundred years.
On a seemingly routine day, things get dangerous when the crew spots a group of Somali pirates nearing the ship. Unarmed, Phillips (Hanks) does everything in his power to protect his crew and the ship even risking his own life in the process.
Tom Hanks delivers an outstanding performance, one that is surely going to garner him some serious Oscar attention for the first time in 13 years (Yes, it's been that long since his last nomination, but would definitely be deserving).
Appearing in nearly every scene, Hanks carries the film. In a career full of great performances, his work in Captain Phillips is among his best.
Barkhad Abdi, the Somali captain also shines opposite Hanks. I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to grab a nomination as well. The film focuses on their relationship and the subsequent standoff they face as a result of their actions.
Director Paul Greengrass does a terrific job balancing the heart pounding suspense and the complex emotional elements. It's one of the rare films that actually makes us see things from the point of view of the villains. We see their back story and watch them develop as characters. We can relate to their problems, even though we might not agree with their actions.
Captain Phillips is one of the years best films so far. It's the complete package featuring intense thrills, relevant themes, and riveting performances.
The fact that it's also a true story just makes it that much more powerful.