User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 601 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 601
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  1. Oct 25, 2013
    6
    I think one of the main reasons I didn't give this movie a higher rating is because I thought the last third just sort of droned on and fizzled out. Yes it ended with a bang, but the more interesting part of the story was when the captain was trying to outsmart the pirates and save his ship and crew. The last third of the story seemed as confined and limited as the actual physical spaceI think one of the main reasons I didn't give this movie a higher rating is because I thought the last third just sort of droned on and fizzled out. Yes it ended with a bang, but the more interesting part of the story was when the captain was trying to outsmart the pirates and save his ship and crew. The last third of the story seemed as confined and limited as the actual physical space it took place in. They did do a good job characterizing the pirates, not making them likable, but making them human, instead of caricatures, simple violent thugs. A decent flick, but not sure why it is getting all the glowing critic reviews, the Halo that surrounds Mr, Hanks and all his works (since Joe vs. the Volcano anyway), perhaps? Expand
  2. Oct 19, 2013
    5
    I didn't like this film, not because there was anything wrong with it. It was well made. The acting and script are good. However, I ultimately found myself rooting for the bad guys. The story itself is too much a "might makes right" story. ...the smug Navy putting the Captain's life in jeopardy justified only by the positive end result. The story itself is completely embellished.I didn't like this film, not because there was anything wrong with it. It was well made. The acting and script are good. However, I ultimately found myself rooting for the bad guys. The story itself is too much a "might makes right" story. ...the smug Navy putting the Captain's life in jeopardy justified only by the positive end result. The story itself is completely embellished. Read the real life accounts from former crew about who the "real" Captain Richard Phillips is. Altogether this reeked of Hollywood BS. The producers made a film that is designed only to make Americans feel good about themselves, and that this one delivers in that regard is entirely depressing to me. Expand
  3. Nov 11, 2013
    5
    I’m not sure if there is some sort of unwritten rule in Hollywood to pump out glorified films of American icons or a quota for the “Based On A True Story: American Hero” genre. With the likes of Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, and G.I Joe: Retaliation, there is only one way to distinguish these films from the likes of Captain Phillips, and that’s the talent behind, and in front ofI’m not sure if there is some sort of unwritten rule in Hollywood to pump out glorified films of American icons or a quota for the “Based On A True Story: American Hero” genre. With the likes of Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, and G.I Joe: Retaliation, there is only one way to distinguish these films from the likes of Captain Phillips, and that’s the talent behind, and in front of the screen.

    Captain Phillips is a clever, beautiful and meticulous piece of American propaganda. Brought out by its studios Columbia Pictures and Sony, it tells the story of a Captain of an American cargo ship being taken over by a small and young band of inexperienced Somali pirates.

    Think of it like this; the film is directed by Paul Greengrass, the same director of United 93, a film that recounts the efforts of average American passengers foiling the plans of foreign terrorist plans during 9/11; it stars our generation’s own Humphrey Bogart, and arguably the most recognizable American actor right now, Tom Hanks, and its produced by the team behind other contemporary American classics like The Social Network. So why is Captain Phillips sinking right out of the water?

    I know that, for the most part, I will be in the vast minority with my viewpoint on the film, already gaining critical praise and reception from early festival screenings and talk, most noticeably for Hanks’ performance. But what about the performances of the practically unknown, amateur and first time Somali actors who, not only hold their own beside the masterful Hanks, but at times tower over time like a freighter ship beside a life vessel. Pirates Muse (Barkhad Abdi) and Bilal (Barkhad Abdirahman) stand out more than the other two pirates, but as the award season nears closer, I am sure neither of these names will be announced as serious award contenders when the time comes.

    What is most disappointing about Captain Phillips is its massive potential. The film starts off, giving the audience [somewhat] equal screen time to both the protagonist and antagonist, showing the lives of these two very different men and the ‘jobs’ they must perform in order to survive. One individual is a captain of a cargo ship who steers heavy waters to get shipments into port on time; the other is a fisherman who is violently forced to become a Somali pirate for a larger, more corrupt entity. Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray briefly touch upon the incongruencies of both men’s worlds and different upbringings as well as viewpoints, but, shortly after, is drowned with scenes of unapologetic American patriotism.

    As for Tom Hanks, well, Hanks does what he does best throughout the course of the film. There is no denying Hanks as a powerhouse actor and fine entertainer, just not with the presence of other actors. Some of Hanks’ most memorable and recognized performances (Cast Away, The Terminal, Cloud Atlas) are ones when he is interacting with only himself. Captain Phillips is a testament to that notion; delivering his best and most emotional scenes in either a lifeless life vessel or disoriented and unresponsive to an aiding nurse, Hanks delivers his signature Tom Hanks characteristic, just with a different accent.

    Unfortunately for Greengrass and company, Captain Phillips is an unaware, self-reflexive, continuing practice of the “home of the brave and land of the free” stretching its muscles. Just last year, making its premiere at the Venice and Toronto film festival circuit, a Danish film, titled A Hijacking made its rounds internationally, and then shortly after, in a limited theatre bout. The film never found footing after its critical praise and strong reception from audiences. The trailer is also oddly familiar to the style and narrative of Captain Phillips. Yet again, the Hollywood studio system just goes to show that with the right actor and precise director, no idea is safe of Hollywood’s ongoing obsession of being uncreative.

    Emotionally charged, suspenseful and paced brilliantly, it is hard to ignore Captain Phillips as one’s familiar, unsteady first boat ride–it may be a bit nauseating, rough, and hard. Making you reconsidering jumping on again.
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  4. Mar 10, 2014
    5
    As purely an action/drama film it was very good and Tom Hanks was as good as he consistently is. One drawback is some of the after-story blowback where certain crew members have criticized over-heroization of Phillips (as Hollywood often does) and claims that the path he routed close to the Somali border in order to speed delivery is actually what put them in harm's way in the first place.As purely an action/drama film it was very good and Tom Hanks was as good as he consistently is. One drawback is some of the after-story blowback where certain crew members have criticized over-heroization of Phillips (as Hollywood often does) and claims that the path he routed close to the Somali border in order to speed delivery is actually what put them in harm's way in the first place.
    But the biggest problem with this as with some of the other Navy SEAL-related films lately, is that it is horribly wrong to allow a movie to reveal our special forces tactics. Even the slightest reveal has the potential for putting our troops in greater danger and I have no patience for this sloppy exposure.
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  5. Oct 27, 2013
    4
    This is a well-made film! Although based on an actual event, there is no doubt in my mind that the embellishments of the story make it so much more theatrical.Yes, I know that that is the nature of a film based on fact. In other words, don't expect reality in a true-based event. However, for some reason, this did not connect with me. Tom is fine as are the cast but this is not anythingThis is a well-made film! Although based on an actual event, there is no doubt in my mind that the embellishments of the story make it so much more theatrical.Yes, I know that that is the nature of a film based on fact. In other words, don't expect reality in a true-based event. However, for some reason, this did not connect with me. Tom is fine as are the cast but this is not anything that I would want to see again, ever and I found it grueling to see it once. Actually, I'm glad that I went to it and now see that most who saw it do not agree with my perspective. Obviously, my standards for a film of this nature are quite different. Perhaps the fact that I drifted off after about 10 minutes for about 15 minutes and then watched the rest of the film colours my perspective? C' est la vie! Expand
  6. Jan 29, 2014
    6
    I was already familiar with the storyline as I had seen a documentary of it, so the drama for me was minimized, but pretty much it's about a cargo ship that is traveling in waters that are known for piracy and sure enough the Captain's cargo ship is targeted for piracy and there the adventure begins. Of course, we're supposed to root for Captain Phillips but it's hardly a fair fight,I was already familiar with the storyline as I had seen a documentary of it, so the drama for me was minimized, but pretty much it's about a cargo ship that is traveling in waters that are known for piracy and sure enough the Captain's cargo ship is targeted for piracy and there the adventure begins. Of course, we're supposed to root for Captain Phillips but it's hardly a fair fight, since behind the Captain is all the mighty power of the American military.
    Don't mess with America, I suppose, but hey how about a little love and support for those impoverished but enterprising buccaneers.
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  7. Feb 2, 2014
    6
    I have to admit, for a movie based on a true story. The movie grabs your attention! But that's Hollywood for you. From what I read, the REAL story is alittle different
  8. Feb 13, 2014
    6
    Captain Phillips kept me on the edge of the seat the first hour and a half, then I lose it and recovered it at the end. It's strange how this film manages a great level of tension with such a simple storyline like a cargo ship hijacked by pirates. The clue here is that the movie makes the viewer feel threaten by the pirates, as if he was part of the crew; and the is accomplish because ofCaptain Phillips kept me on the edge of the seat the first hour and a half, then I lose it and recovered it at the end. It's strange how this film manages a great level of tension with such a simple storyline like a cargo ship hijacked by pirates. The clue here is that the movie makes the viewer feel threaten by the pirates, as if he was part of the crew; and the is accomplish because of close camera shots, mainly to the faces of the characters; in contrast with wide camera shots, used for the ship, the life boat and the pirate skiff; and also is the constant massages that the captain sent to the crew by loudspeaker. The story decline when arrives the help for the cargo ship, and here is where all the American power is put on the table, the problem is that is so exaggerated, at the point the it becomes rejectable. Although the end compensate the previous part. Here the direction might not be so good, but Tom Hanks's performance is worthy of an Oscar nomination (too bad that didn't happen) and Barkhad Abdi definitely is the innovation here. Expand
  9. Mar 5, 2014
    6
    The two hour run time was sort of needless and while Tom Hanks was fantastic, Everyone else on the cast did not have much in terms of dialogue and even when they had it, It was the bare minimum. It was still a pretty solid movie overall and worth checking out if you are a fan of Hanks, Just don't expect to get blown away by it. The film, at least in my opinion, failed to capture theThe two hour run time was sort of needless and while Tom Hanks was fantastic, Everyone else on the cast did not have much in terms of dialogue and even when they had it, It was the bare minimum. It was still a pretty solid movie overall and worth checking out if you are a fan of Hanks, Just don't expect to get blown away by it. The film, at least in my opinion, failed to capture the seriousness of the situation and it was actually sort of laughable the way it was too over-dramatic at times. Expand
  10. Aug 1, 2014
    5
    This is a moderately dramatic movie that's largely harmed by the fact that, because it follows a real life event that was in the news for several days, you know the ending well in advance. The last third of the movie drags out a bit when the conclusion of everything becomes obvious (or you remember it from the news), and then you're waiting around for something to happen almost as much asThis is a moderately dramatic movie that's largely harmed by the fact that, because it follows a real life event that was in the news for several days, you know the ending well in advance. The last third of the movie drags out a bit when the conclusion of everything becomes obvious (or you remember it from the news), and then you're waiting around for something to happen almost as much as everyone else is. Still, I liked a lot of the acting and the script, so it comes out average. Expand
  11. Nov 15, 2013
    6
    Captain Phillips is not a bad film whatsoever and if you like a story I recommend you watch it but there are two issues in the film that stand out. For instance the characters in the movie are not very memorable as you just don't feel a attachment to them but as for Tom Hanks he is far from bad and he can act but I've seen better and I just didn't feel any emotion for him during the entireCaptain Phillips is not a bad film whatsoever and if you like a story I recommend you watch it but there are two issues in the film that stand out. For instance the characters in the movie are not very memorable as you just don't feel a attachment to them but as for Tom Hanks he is far from bad and he can act but I've seen better and I just didn't feel any emotion for him during the entire film. Another issue that affects me and anybody who likes a fast paced movie now if you like a fast paced movie such as me you'll not like Captain Phillips as it starts off very slow and you don't see any action until 30-45 minutes into the film but if you can wait that long then you'll enjoy the rest of the film. Overall Captain Phillips is a enjoyable movie and worth your money and time. Expand
  12. Mar 23, 2014
    6
    Good acting in general, Hanks shows one more time his great skills in acting. Unnecessary long movie, Phillips begins like the hero of the day, then it becomes a military movie. At last, it finishes being one of the (not few) Pro-USA movies: "USA is goodness, any other country is evil". How many boats, soldiers, helicopters did they need to rescue a single person?... yeah right...
  13. Mar 2, 2014
    6
    Very good movie except the shaking cam was out of control... got motion sick half way into the movie. Would of gave a 4 stars if the shaking was less.
  14. Feb 5, 2015
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Have Camera, Will Shake

    Dear Mr. Greengrass, your signature style using a nervous camera and jarring edits from start to finish has become all too tired and cliché. Although you seem to have cornered the market on shooting in choppy environments (hijacked planes and ships), your MO is wonky and outdated. It once provided us with the illusion of edgy unpredictability but no longer substitutes for good story-telling and suspenseful drama. It was fun for a while but substance outlives style. Next time out, unpack the tripod, see if you can't restrain those spasms.

    The docudrama appearance of the film is at odds with it's Hollywood makeover and spoiled by casting a movie star in the title role. We can actually believe those were real Somali pirates stalking the ship, barefoot in a motorboat with a machine gun, so what's Tom Hanks doing out there?

    Which captain is more likely to be nominated for an Oscar and which one is more deserving, Tom Hanks, the extremely likable hard-luck chap, or Barkhad Abdi, the very convincing "skinny" Somalian in his first acting role? "Relax, everything's going to be okay, Mr. Phillips."

    The story was initially framed from two opposing points of view. But for all the time we spend with the Captain and the pirates, we know very little about them. He's married. They are desperate. End of profile. This is why the endings of such undeveloped stories are abrupt and unsatisfying. The scrappy character development is ultimately why the movie needs illustrious old Tom Hanks and the indelible memory of his previous fictional characters. And, without question, a shaky camera.

    Much of the dialogue was reduced to short outbursts of threats and fits of rage. The movie could have been released on Twitter. It rang rather empty when Hanks roared out they were not fishermen, since neither he or the audience knew much about them. Given his strategic thinking, you'd figure Phillips would have tried to sympathize with the attackers, get to know them, if only to weaken their resolve and possibly get them to turn against each other. Besides, isn't this what displaced main characters are meant to do? Be our eyes and ears in a narrative of conflict and discovery?

    The Somalian Pirates fail to impress us as anything but deadly pests. Their crude onrush leaves me wondering why the most self-important nation on earth, so insanely obsessed and possessive about firearms, doesn't at least provide the old Cap with a pocket pistol for self-defence? Seriously, the only weapons provided for these gigantic container ships, so vital to a global economy, are water hoses?

    Some of the more interesting facts and details seemed to either be swept aside or glossed over. The pirates, for all their maniacal posturing, did not kill anyone. Attacking them was like swatting a mosquito with a wrecking ball. The absurdity is evident but never appeared foolish as the filmmakers brazenly flaunted conventional American propaganda. Disproportionately heroic American might and justice was never questioned.(The cost of hiring a warship perhaps?)

    The desperation of the pirates mission was touched upon: return with the ship and/or the captain or face certain death. But the resolve of the American naval SEAL to rescue a single individual using its highly skilled and lopsided military was never in doubt. Thus, staking its claim on the foolhardy impression that every individual American life is sacred (if your white, well-to-do and married) but never once hinted that it was likely for the optics alone. This is typically implied by showing TV news coverage of the hostage crisis back home, often from the protagonist's family room.

    We were introduced to his wife in the first scene but never see her again. Actually, I don't mind this omission. The movie succeeds rather well keeping us in the moment with a tense, rigid, alert objective in lieu of a broader and richer perspective. I got the feeling something important was happening--but little else.
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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: 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 11, 2013
    100
    The piercingly realistic Captain Phillips will exceed your expectations.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 11, 2013
    83
    Greengrass is an expert hijacker, too. He hijacks our good sense.