Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 11, 2013
    100
    The piercingly realistic Captain Phillips will exceed your expectations.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    Captain Phillips is such an impressive dramatic achievement that it comes as a shock when it gets even better, during a devastating final scene in which Hanks single-handedly dismantles Hollywood notions of macho heroism in one shattering, virtually wordless sequence.
  3. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    Captain Phillips, a movie that insistently closes the distance between us and them, has a vital moral immediacy.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    Captain Phillips is harrowing, inspiring, a must-see piece of moviemaking.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    Even as Greengrass’ signature kinetic style renders us nearly seasick and emotionally spent from the action, it’s the work of Tom Hanks that makes this film unforgettable.
  6. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    This is an intense and complicated story, and the film doesn't rush it. It lets it unfold and build, methodically.
  7. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Oct 10, 2013
    100
    As we bounce over rough seas on the Maersk, we know just what will be lost if the Somalis don’t keep their trembling fingers off their triggers. As the title suggests, this is not a movie about an incident: It’s a movie about a man who stays very real to us.
  8. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 9, 2013
    100
    At this point in his celebrated career, there shouldn't be much new that Hanks can show us. But there is, as the actor reaches deep inside to express the relief of dodging death as I've never seen it played before. He's in shock; we're awed.
  9. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Oct 8, 2013
    100
    Both Greengrass and Hanks are on award-deserving form in a riveting, emotionally complex and hugely intelligent dramatisation of a real-life ordeal.
  10. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 30, 2013
    100
    It falls to Hanks and his movie-star presence to anchor this ambitious enterprise, and he does some of his most impressive acting without saying a word.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    The most gripping based-on-fact film so far this year.
  12. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Sep 27, 2013
    100
    It’s a breathlessly told movie; both meticulous and frenetic, sweat-soaked and methodical. It will take hold and won’t let you go, and it’s one of the most engaging movies of the year.
  13. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Oct 8, 2013
    91
    The pressure cooker atmosphere builds for almost too long, but when the resolution finally occurs, the sense of relief is that much more palpable.
  14. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Oct 11, 2013
    90
    Hanks and Abdi are so compellingly matched that unlike with most thrillers, it won't be the action climax in Captain Phillips that'll stick with you. It'll be that aftermath, which gets at the emotional toll of terrorism in a way few movies have.
  15. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Oct 8, 2013
    90
    Captain Phillips could have stopped at simply depicting what happened; it’s the steps it takes to examining why it happened that make it extraordinary.
  16. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 9, 2013
    89
    With Captain Phillips we get a viable thriller whose conclusion is already known, and a character who reacts to circumstances rather than a personal, heroic code. And now, it’s a story preserved in brine.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Oct 1, 2013
    89
    While this is arguably Greengrass’ best film, it’s almost certainly his most urgent.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 11, 2013
    88
    It might have all been another Hollywood-formula flick with American might taking on the alien other. But Greengrass gives Phillips and Muse the time, aboard a covered lifeboat, to discover shared beliefs and fears.
  19. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 10, 2013
    88
    The climactic rescue by Navy SEALs is riveting. But it's Phillips' devastating after-the-fact shock that leaves the most haunting impression in this ambitious, taut and captivating thriller.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 10, 2013
    88
    Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.
  21. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 10, 2013
    88
    Captain Phillips manages to expose us to a few things that are unusual in a thriller, including sympathy for the enemy and, in Hanks’s performance, the frailty that is the other side of heroism.
  22. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Oct 10, 2013
    88
    In Captain Phillips, director Paul Greengrass pulls off the same remarkable feat he accomplished with "United 93": He takes a true story in which the outcome is already known and transforms it into a gripping, wrenching, devastating thriller.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 10, 2013
    88
    Director Paul Greengrass creates an aura of urgency so compelling, so rooted in detail, that we temporarily forget what we know and hold our breaths for two-plus hours of tightening suspense.
  24. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 8, 2013
    88
    Mr. Hanks, in yet another in a long line of diverse character studies, does a beautiful job as the voice of reason and logic, trying to inspire bravery and maintain order amid the noise and panic. In the big emotional scenes, as well as the small, nerve-jangling scenes, he is an artist at the top of his skill.
  25. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 8, 2013
    88
    Captain Phillips works precisely because Hanks isn't a muscle-bound, gun-toting figure (nor does he turn into one during the course of the movie). Placed in an untenable position, he uses guile and intelligence instead of brawn and weapons to enhance his survival chances.
  26. 88
    The performances and Greengrass’s way with action immerse us and make Captain Phillips a tight, taut,edge of your seat thriller even if you remember the ending.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 11, 2013
    83
    Greengrass is an expert hijacker, too. He hijacks our good sense.
  28. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 9, 2013
    83
    A great many filmmakers — too many — use handheld cameras to evoke a sensation of raw, this is really happening immediacy. But director Paul Greengrass is unique. At a glance, his live-wire, ragged-camera method may seem overly familiar, but the way he employs it, that method is as expressive as the style of a superb novelist.
  29. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Oct 21, 2013
    80
    Squeezing every drop of tension from wet-ink recent history, Phillips only falters when making its protagonists mouthpieces in a broader geopolitical debate. Otherwise, it’s full steam ahead to the Oscars.
  30. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 10, 2013
    80
    And then comes that transcendent last scene, in which the man whose side we’ve barely left during this incredible ordeal is suddenly revealed as the best kind of hero, not super at all but ordinary and vulnerable and human.
  31. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 9, 2013
    80
    Captain Phillips is a voyage well-worth taking.
  32. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 9, 2013
    80
    This a quasi-war movie set in peacetime; these men are fighting to the death, but not for nation or principle or ideology — or at least, not a conscious ideology: they are caught in larger economic currents.
  33. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 8, 2013
    80
    The surprise is that Captain Phillips is a surprise in the first place, pitching and rolling tirelessly like the sea on which it is set and, in the process, becoming one of the most enjoyable and well-made movies to hit theaters this year.
  34. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Oct 4, 2013
    80
    Captain Phillips is a triumph of solid, professional and sometimes inspired film crafts, deserving of all the plaudits that come its way.
  35. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 9, 2013
    80
    The film rips right along and never relinquishes its grip.
  36. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Oct 11, 2013
    75
    It's one of the most emotionally draining climaxes of the year.
  37. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 10, 2013
    75
    It is, however, just about perfect in its wrenching emotion, expressed by an actor clearly up to the challenge of acting in a Paul Greengrass docudrama — which is to say, acting with as little capital-A Acting as possible.
  38. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Oct 9, 2013
    75
    More often that not, however, Captain Phillips is riveting. Though he remains unfortunately convinced that violently shaking his camera is the best way to achieve visual urgency, Greengrass nevertheless excels at pressure-cooker scenarios.
  39. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 6, 2013
    75
    It's hard to imagine Captain Phillips in the hands of any other filmmaker -- and Captain Phillips in the hands of Greengrass looks exactly like anyone familiar with his work would expect. It does justice to the material even while playing too conscientiously by the book.
  40. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 10, 2013
    70
    The film succeeds on its own terms — an exciting entertainment that makes us feel good about the outcome, and about the reach of American power, rather than its limits. Yet the narrative container is far from full. There isn't enough incident or complexity to sustain the entire length of this elaborately produced star vehicle.
  41. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Oct 8, 2013
    70
    Even if Captain Phillips treads into some ideologically rough waters, there's one thing that's hard to find fault with: Hanks gives a performance that goes from good (through the first 124 minutes) to extraordinary (in the last 10).
  42. 70
    It’s when the Somalis spirit Phillips away in a closed lifeboat that Captain Phillips becomes a great thriller, in part because Barry Ackroyd’s camera is stuck inside with the characters and its jitters finally seem earned.
  43. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Sep 6, 2013
    70
    There is something too dry and austere about Greengrass and Ray’s telescoped vision, which touches only fleetingly on the pirates’ motives, the suffering of the Somali people and the collateral damage of global capitalism.
  44. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Sep 29, 2013
    63
    It works too hard to keep matters on an even, we're-all-more-alike-than-different keel, which is just one part of its chief problem of forcefully conveying information and intent.
  45. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Oct 10, 2013
    60
    Hanks has a wonderful scene, late in the film, that shows a strong man collapsing into frailty. It hints at the emotional depth the movie might have plundered. The rest of Captain Phillips must rely for its drive on the relentless mechanical agitation of Henry Jackman’s score. It can’t save an overly muscled docudrama that is more pounding that truly gripping.
  46. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 8, 2013
    60
    Director Paul Greengrass remains a genius of claustrophobia, yet his better films — "Bloody Sunday," "United 93" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" — all beat with a stronger sense of central identification. He doesn’t have as much to work with this time, and his solution is to slow down the pace. The result is more clarity, but also more monotony.
  47. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Oct 7, 2013
    60
    Why, then, do we not feel bullied by the result? Partly because the camera, as I say, tells a subtler tale than the dialogue does, and lures us into a grudging respect for the bravado of Muse and his men; but mainly because of Tom Hanks. This most likable of actors deliberately presents us with a character who makes no effort to be liked.
  48. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 7, 2013
    50
    Not far below the surface Captain Phillips is also an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience, a film that’s not entirely happy with itself.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 534 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 133
  1. Oct 11, 2013
    10
    Captain Philips keeps you on the edge of your seat! You think it's intense when the pirates board the ship, but it takes you to a whole new level later on. I could not look away for a second. Tom Hanks delivers a breathtaking performance worthy of an Oscar nomination and possibly an Oscar. One of the best films I've seen this year. Captain Philips will make you rethink your ratings for other movies! Full Review »
  2. Oct 11, 2013
    10
    People will be talking about Tom Hanks' masterpiece for a long time!!! Absolutely stunning and well acted. A thriller that will never be forgotten!!! Awesome!!! Full Review »
  3. Oct 11, 2013
    9
    Captain Phillips is one of the best films I've seen this year with a all round great performance by Tom Hanks it kept me on the edge of my seat the same way Paul Greengrass did with United 93 suspenseful the moment the pirates get on the ship and take over I was thinking this is good enough but then it gets even better as the movie plays out. Tom Hanks will get an oscar nomination for his performance in this movie or even an Oscar which I think he should overall great movie. Acting A, Music A, Writing A, Movie 10 out of 10 Full Review »