Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Captain Phillips’ a Harrowing Pirate Tale of Endurance

Captain-PhillipsTom Hanks is back with two major movies this Oscar season…

In December he portrays Walt Disney in SAVING MR. BANKS opposite Emma Thompson which already is generating lots of buzz.

This weekend he stars as Richard Phillips, a seasoned container ship captain who has an uneasy feeling about his next assignment—suspecting that this job won’t be incident free.

The captain’s intuition proves correct when his unarmed cargo vessel is taken over by four machine gun wielding pirates off the Somalian coast.

All Captain Phillips had to try to hold them off from boarding his ship were high pressure water hoses and evasive maneuvers. But when push came to shove the rapidly fired bullets won out leaving the young Somalian pirates in command of the ship.

“Look at me, I’m the captain now,” its leader screams at Hanks.

captain-phillips-tom-hanks-bridge-636-370A cat and mouse game standoff ensues with the crew hiding in the engine room while Hanks tries to negotiate with the pirates on the bridge.

All he’s got to offer them is $30,000 from the ship’s vault, but they want $10 million instead and show very little patience.

Thus the relationship between Phillips and his Somalian counterpart rapidly deteriorates. And events lead to the captain being taken hostage by the four punks into a small, covered and powered lifeboat.

Meanwhile the U.S. Navy becomes involved, sending a war ship to the scene, while the small size of the escaping vehicle makes a potential rescue and capture extremely difficult without harming Phillips in the process.

Resulting in the tensions in the boat rapidly rising to the boiling point, fueled by the chaotic conditions within.

“The Navy is not going to let you win. They CAN’T let you win!”

If all this sounds familiar, it should. This docudrama is based on the headline grabbing REAL events that went down in 2009, as well as Richard Phillips‘ own input.

And although we may remember the positive outcome of the capture of Maersk’s Alabama from the news of the day, we had no idea of the endurance and perseverance shown by the captain throughout the ordeal. Building up to the story’s intense climax—which includes the NavySEAL’s ultimate performance, which makes for an emotional and pulsating final act in the film.

However getting there is probably this thriller’s biggest problem.

CaptainPhillips_lifeboat_620x350A good number of overly drawn out scenes drag down the film’s intensity to the point that one can almost lose interest at times. We’re talking 2 hours and 13 minutes here.

Could an edit to a running time of  just under two hours have made it a better film? I think so.

And director Paul (‘United 93’) Greengrass’ steady diet of hand held camera action may have some of you craving a dose of Dramamine.

Having said that, I’m happy to report that the film’s nail biting ending is worth the wait. The emotional payoff is something to behold.



(Reviewed at AMC Town Center, Leawood)

JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. on KMBZ FM & AM / And anytime on Time Warner-Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.



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