The Seattle Prep Panther

Tom Hanks Returns in Captain Phillips

George Kent, Staff Writer

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Tom Hanks is back! And he does not disappoint in Captain Phillips – a film retelling of the events that took place on the Maersk Alabama in April of 2009 after it was captured by a group of four pirates off the coast of Somalia.  The pirates escaped the ship in a lifeboat, holding Captain Phillips hostage, and headed for the coast of Somalia under the pursuit of U.S. Navy forces for 3 days.

The movie is intense and nerve-wracking throughout, and almost no scene goes by without its “will he won’t he?” moments, involving the wiry pirate captain as he holds different Alabama crew members hostage.  The pirate captain Mente played by the never before seen Barkhad Abdi is excellent in this role, and acts with wide-eyed violence and unpredictability that is as frightening as it is believable, the only downside to the intense hostage scenes being that the story has already been made public, and many viewers will know the outcome before even entering the theater.

Most of the crew vs. pirate scenes are well done, but the cat-and-mouse scenes aboard the Alabama as the invading pirates search the ship for its crew vary in their quality – some being quite tense and frightening, some unimpressive and predictable.  While most moments of the movie are quite intense, it does include quite a few long, silent scenes filled with anticipation.  These are grueling and hard to sit through at times, but it’s worth it to wait through them for the rest of the movie, and they do help build up the tension making the action scenes seem all the more exciting.

Tom Hanks, playing the movie’s namesake, is incredible in his role, and his acting is the highlight of the movie.  Phillips is a strict but fair captain who keeps everything under control, giving his orders with a calm but direct voice through a think Boston accent.  Throughout the crises of the movie, Phillips keeps a straight face, but there is an underlying feeling of fear to his words.  Hanks does this well, but in there are a few breakdown scenes throughout the movie when he really starts to shine.  The performance is moving and completely believable.  Everything from the way his voice begins to shake as he tries to keep his composure through some terrifying moments to a final breakdown when all the emotion hits him is utterly captivating, and will blow away any moviegoer.

The movie is altogether well done, but could do with some trimming and editing here and there.  The acting of the two leads takes the cake in Captain Phillips, and while the rest is quite good, it’s those intense, personal scenes focusing on the two main actors that will be remembered and treasured.

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About the Writer
George Kent, Editor-in-Chief

George is ecstatic to be editor in chief for the 2016 edition of the Panther. Though many have called him "The Bomb," George prefers to be known as the...

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Tom Hanks Returns in Captain Phillips