Based on the 2009 hijacking of the container ship Maersk Alabama, this nail-biting drama manages to tell both sides of the story, capturing intensity from both ends of the gun. Captain Phillips stars Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips — who has to think on his feet when his American cargo ship is attacked by four Somali pirates — and Barkhad Abdi as Somali pirate Muse. When the four pirates are on board, the struggles for power between both parties become evident. However, Captain Phillips tries to stay calm and bravely keeps most of his crew hidden from the hijackers. He then devises a new plan and throws the pirates off their game; this ensures his team’s safety, but winds up with him getting trapped with the pirates on a rescue boat. The gut-wrenching tension is then amplified as the audience watches the situation unfold.
Barkhad Abdi brings a strong presence to the screen, going head to head with Tom Hanks. He manages to draw sympathy from the audiences as he portrays the desperation and the poverty from which Muse comes. Director Paul Greengrass manages to bring out brilliant performances from Hanks as well as from each of the four captors. It may even be said that Barkhad’s performance overshadowed that of Hanks in many scenes, leading this rookie actor to score a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. The emotional trauma that Phillips experienced is created so vividly that it leaves us with a true sense of the events that took place on that ship. The DVD extras include a director’s commentary and making-of featurettes. ~Marriska Fernandes