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Every single minute made the audience not want to leave for that bathroom break right until the very end of the two-hour and fourteen-minute show. Critics call “Captain Philips” the top performance in Tom Hanks’ entire career.

“Captain Philips” is unlike any other true-story film that’ll leave you sitting on the edges of your chair, quickly eating your popcorn that’s been sitting around for a good hour, and your heart pounding loudly in your ears.

The film is based on a true story that made news in 2009 when pirates boarded the Maersk Alabama, which had its commanding officer Captain Richard Philips held hostage in a lifeboat for days in exchange for millions of dollars. Tom Hanks takes on the captain’s role, warping his personality into a man who’s looking to be prepared for just about anything for this shipment – even if it’s a trip passing Somalia and pirates boarding their ship.

It was quite interesting to look back on the real Captain Philip’s recollection of the hijacking and find that Tom Hanks had mimicked his voice and accent perfectly.

Spoiler Alert: f you’ve had the heads up about the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, feel free to read on. But beware of potential spoilers!

Wife Andrea Philips, played by Catherine Keener, had to reassure him everything was going to be all right before he got on the plane to Africa. It already gave the audience the set-up into knowing something’s bound to go wrong.

Murphy’s Law, if we actually think about it: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

The crew consisted of twenty large men who have been trained to carry the heaviest of equipment and have the power of fists and pocket knives, while they were also armed with the knowledge of their ship, inside and out. They were somewhere between their forties and fifties, perhaps husbands and fathers with a family somewhere in the United States. The pirates, on the other hand, are four scrawny Somalian teens between the ages of seventeen and nineteen, and armed with assault rifles – probably the standard AK47. It’s evident here that the so-called “power” lies with the “men” with guns.

However, being able to know the ship inside out doesn’t completely save them because the leader of the four-member team, Muse (Mu-seh) – played by Barkhad Abdi – finds the map indicating the layout of the ship. When the ship had shut down for the boarding of the pirates, it was clear that these pirates were no amateurs to know that the best place to go to was the engine room.

Just as the original 2009 hijacking ended, Captain Philips was able to return home, but not without the U.S. Navy and Seals coming in and making their grand entrance. Just don’t keep your hopes up, because Philips isn’t escaping without a single scratch. With five days on the Maersk Alabama’s lifeboat, the pirates had run out of water and dehydration led to tempers going off, nearly cost the captain a rib or two from his captors.

“You talk too much, Irish,” was probably the only phrase I can pick out from that entire movie. Yet, talking had saved Captain Philips’ life, to let the Navy know how he was doing.

In the end, the message is clear here: mess with one American and you get the cavalry coming in with guns ablaze.


Guns weren’t enough to keep Philips down in his fight against his captors as he tried to find every single possibility to escape the lifeboat at all costs, even if it meant excusing himself for a bathroom break in the dead of night and plunging into the Indian Ocean. What could’ve been the natural human instinct of fight or flight, Philips stuck to both by fleeing from the Somali pirates and fighting to stay alive.

Hanks brings out Philips’ fatherly qualities while upholding his character as a person of respect. He’s the guy that says, “Been there, done that”, but doesn’t rub it in everyone’s face.

“Captain Philips” gets an A plus for bringing the true story to the big screen and bringing the backstory to our pirates to the viewers. However, it showed that there were loopholes in the every single plan the crew had. In the end, the movie conveys the message that in times like this, always be prepared.