The Buzz: Captain Philips


Evon Hung, Contributing Staff

You hear about fictional pirates all the time; there’s the evil Captain Hook of Neverland and quirky Jack Sparrow of the Caribbean. But “Captain Phillips” trumps all. On the ship of Maersk Alabama, pirates are real.

“Captain Phillips” is based on a true event that occurred in 2009. The premise of this documentary-like film centers on a band of Somali pirates hijacking the ship of the Maersk Alabama crew , and stealing money to appease their threatening boss. Taken as a hostage, the ship’s commander, Captain Phillips faces struggles with the pirates that will determine either his life or death.

The movie has a dull start. Viewers may find themselves bored before the real story actually begins because the introduction is rather long and uninteresting. It is only after the first 30 minutes that I found interest in the movie because of the plotline’s turn of events that caught my attention.

Despite a long introduction, the film has numerous points that are appealing to an audience, one of which is the main character Captain Phillips, played by Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks. Hanks did a phenomenal job conveying the role as captain of a ship and the hardships he endured. This veteran actor proves his glory throughout the film, especially when the outcome of the story is unraveled. The actors who played as the Somali pirate hijackers were also convincing; their expressions and accents gave the characters authenticity and contributed to the excitement of several prominent scenes.

“Captain Phillips” also has a great selection of music that helped build suspense in intense scenes of the movie. Due to the ominous background sound, I often found myself leaning toward the screen in moments when there was high tension, such as if someone was about to be shot or was severely threatened.

Throughout the film, I noticed that the camera was always moving—either swiveling around to focus on different actors or panning across several scenes. The movement of the camera reflected a person’s point-of-view, intensifying the viewing experience by pulling you to feel as if you were really there.

While the story didn’t capture my interest in the beginning, several other elements compelled me to enjoy the movie nevertheless. “Captain Phillips” is a serious film that best appeals to a mature audience. The fact that the events portrayed in the film had actually happened is shocking and traumatic and makes it that much more of a worthwhile watch.