The film is being roundly praised by critics, who say that Tom Hanks could be in line for a third Oscar and Paul Geengrass could be up for the director award too
Based on the book A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, the real-life story of when Cpt. Richard Phillip was taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009, Captain Phillips has emerged as one of the films to see this year.
Hanks and his Somali co-stars have received praise for their performances
Critics have heaped praise on the film, a smart and intense thriller that is anchored by the superb performance from the lead actor, Tom Hanks. The film is a multi-faceted account of the hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates in 2009. Director Paul Greengrass has a history of working on thrillers, and like his film United 93, he has once again made a real story come back to life through his concentrated filmmaking style. The film is much more than a hostage drama too, as Greengrass also explores the affects of globalisation, which draws the Somalians to piracy in the first place, and develops an engaging yet unstable relationship between Hank's Phillips and Barkhad Abdi's pirate captain Muse.
"Greengrass keeps the tension mounting throughout the entire film," says Tony Medley of the Tolucan Times. His appraisal of Greengrass is matched by Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, who calls the film "yet another Greengrass masterpiece."
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Still, it isn't Greengrass who is the star of the film, and it isn't him who is getting the majority of the praise. It has been Hanks who has been roundly praised for one of his best performances since Cast Away, with critics strongly considering him for his third Oscar. Calling his performance "one of his best," USA Today critic Claudia Puig also had praise for Greengrass and co-star Abdi's breakthrough performance. In our own review of the movie from resident critic Rich Cline, both Hanks and Greengrass are given equal praise, as Hanks' international status is rendered almost non-existant thanks to the realism of Greengrass' directing style.
As overwhelming as the reception has been, not everyone left the cinema impressed with what they saw. Awash in a sea of positivity, TIME Magazine's Richard Corliss was left thoroughly unimpressed by the "enormous amounts of assimilable detail" brought to the screen by Greengrass. He finds fault in which the ease the pirates find themselves on the ship and although he has praise for Henry Jackman’s score and the acting talent on display, especially from the young Somali actors who take on the pirate roles, this wasn't enough to save the film from being "an overly muscled docudrama that is more pounding that truly gripping."
Captain Phillips arrives in cinemas arrives in US cinemas on 11 October and will be shipped out to the UK on 18 October.