Captain Phillips (2013)

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😦

Director Paul Greengrass‘s shaky-cam take on this tale of modern day piracy is more preoccupied with conflicting realities than it is with good guys and bad guys.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is in charge of the MV Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship headed towards Mombasa. As it sails through the Somali waters, the ship is hijacked by four Somali pirates led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Eventually the trained crew of the Maersk get rid of the pirates but fail to get their captain back as he is kidnapped by the Somalis who take him hostage aboard one of the ship’s lifeboats.

Mr Greengrass puts his cards immediately on the table. Richard Phillips’s privileged background is contrasted with the stark reality of Muse’s impoverished surroundings. Whereas Phillips is worried about his son’s job opportunities, Muse, a fisherman, has to resort to piracy (and khat, a hunger suppressant) in order to survive. The gulf that separates the two captains is further accentuated during the rescue operation: the USA engages its Navy to save one of their men whilst the four Somalis are left on their own, their ’employers’ being conspicuously absent throughout. The film steers clear of any oversimplified categorisations, indulging instead on a nerve-wrecking game that constantly engages and then challenges the viewer.

Forget Johnny Depp and illegal downloads. This is the real deal.

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