Saturday movie review: 'Captain Phillips'

Sometimes movies based on true stories fail to intrigue viewers because audiences already know the full story, the outcome. Not the case with CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. At all.

Captain Phillips DVD

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS was released on DVD Tuesday, and Jim and I were thrilled to have it in our hands Tuesday afternoon. (Thank you, Netflix!) We watched it Tuesday evening and were on the edge of our seats the entire time... with me uttering unstoppable "Oh GEEZ!" comments again and again.

As you likely know, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is the true story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship by Somali pirates as the ship — delivering aid to Africa — made its way around the Horn of Africa. Captain Phillips, played brilliantly by Tom Hanks, is taken hostage by the Somali pirates, forced into a lifeboat with them. What ensues is a three-day battle of wills between Captain Phillips and Muse, the pirate captain (played by Barkhad Abdi), ending with the tense rescue efforts by Navy Seals 145 miles off the Somali coast.

What I loved most about the film: The heart-pounding action began 15 minutes into the film and never let up through the 134-minute run time. I knew what was going to happen, but the details and the heart wrenching moments faced by both Captain Phillips and Muse — whom you, surprisingly, do end up caring a bit about — kept my attention all the way through. I thought for sure the pace would wane and it would be a case of all the best parts having been revealed in the trailer. Not here, thanks to the masterful work of director Paul Greengrass (director of THE BOURNE SUPREMECY and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM) as well as the fine acting that made the characters seem real, not like characters or actors at all.

Speaking of acting, I've mentioned in a previous movie review that Tom Hanks wasn't a favorite of mine. I became more endeared to him while watching SAVING MR. BANKS. It was in the final tear-jerking scenes of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, though, that Tom Hanks nabbed a permanent spot on my list of Top 10 favorite male actors.

After viewing CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, it's clear to me why the film was nominated for six Oscars. I hope it wins a majority of them.

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (rated PG-13 for "sustained sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance abuse") is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and digitally. For more information and videos, visit as well as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.