Captain Phillips movie review

Despite the fact that Captain Phillips is part of an odd movie titling trend in Hollywood that I don’t understand, it’s still a quality film that’s worth seeing featuring amazing performances by actors not named Tom Hanks.

First, let’s address this title issue: I vaguely recall the incident that the movie is about, but I certainly didn’t remember that the man’s name was Captain Richard Phillips. At all. Months ago, I kept seeing things that said, "Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips," and I had no idea what that meant. This goes for movies like Michael Clayton, John Carter and Jack Reacher – I don’t know who these characters are, so just throwing their name out there means nothing to me. Still, Captain Phillips had an effective marketing campaign that quickly cleared up my confusion, but for whatever reason, this has been stuck in my mind for months… and when the hell else am I ever gonna talk about this? And, from my perspective, the movie was as much about the pirate leader as it was Phillips, so why not just call it Piracy on the MV Maersk Alabama?


Dr. Girlfriend read an article in the paper that expressed some folks’ discontent with the film – particularly members of Phillips’ crew. Although the movie does portray them as break taking, coffee drinking, clock punching union slugs early on, the crew members are the only characters who perform any heroic actions in the movie, so I think they come off well. Phillips (Hanks) does some smart things, but for the most part, he’s just a guy doing his job and trying to survive, but the word ‘hero’ doesn’t leap to mind so much as ‘survivor’ does. The Phillips who appears in the movie is a tough dude, but his unarmed crew (OK, they had a pock knife) jumped a dude with an AK 47! Still, if I was those guys, the coffee/break room stuff would have bugged me.

Tom Hanks is great in the movie (especially at the end – and I did forget that I was watching Tom Hanks by the time the film was over), but Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali were flat out amazing as the pirates. These dudes tore up the screen and brought humanity to unsympathetic roles. These guys all deserve consideration for some sort of acting award – supporting or leading. Catherine Keener… is in this movie for maybe the first 5 minutes. I have no idea why they cast her – it was kind of distracting.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Captain Phillips is an instant classic, but it’s certainly one of the best movies I’ve seen this year and worth seeing. It’s a bit redundant, but I have to recommend it and I’m giving it an 8.5 out of 10. Check it out.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on October 22, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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