Captain Phillips

Somali pirates hijack an American cargo ship.

Directed by Paul Greengrass

(PG-13)

***

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This fact-based maritime thriller “gets going so fast, and with such force,” that it’s “almost irrelevant” whether audiences actually enjoy the ride, said Craig Seligman in Bloomberg.com. Tom Hanks stars as the captain of a cargo vessel hijacked by four Somali pirates, and “the strength and humanity” of Hanks’s standout performance lies in the way he conveys the veteran sailor’s horror at both his own predicament and those of his captors. But Captain Phillips “is less an adventure yarn than a celebration of a huge and expensive machine that crushes disorder,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. Quickly surrounded by U.S. warships, the outgunned pirates jump into a small sealed lifeboat with Phillips as their only hostage, but they’re “like unmedicated hyperactive children,” and never have a chance to win. Neither does America, in the end, said David Ehrlich in Film.com. Though the mighty triumph in this particular standoff, we’re led to recognize that the world’s poorest people and its richest nation will always be in conflict. Some happy endings, it seems, “are just problems in disguise.”

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