User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 544 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 544

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  1. Oct 31, 2013
    10
    Emotions run high in this piracy adventure which is gripping from beginning to end. It is also a much better film than the trailer marketing it suggests. I have always been rather irritated by the Tom Hanks' movie star persona, all saccharine and beaming smiles, and his choice of films are invariably of a very conventional or commercial nature (or both!) adding weight to one's off screen impression of him. In his roles, though, he is usually totally believable and rarely gives a bad performance. His Captain Phillips must rank as one of his best. For the most part it is understated and, unusually for a Hanks turn, he blends in to the ensemble rather than standing out as the obvious star.
    Director Paul Greengrass keeps the action up close for the most part creating an atmosphere of claustrophobic desperation. He is aided no end by some stunning hand held camera shots with positioning and angles that truly add to the tension. Even when scenes are in darkness or low light the events happening on screen are clearly depicted, unlike in similar situations in many films where you just don't know what's going on because the cinematography is so poor. The editing too is just dazzlingly brilliant and provides the movie with its rapid heart beat.

    The screenplay raises issues on the age of the hijackers and the fac that these 'terrorists' are in fact fishermen who have had to resort to piracy due to the fact that the western world have over fished the seas. However, it counter balances this particular comment by having Tom Hanks' character state at one point 'You're not a fisherman!' when one of the hijackers violently holds a gun to his forehead. The screenplay may have wanted to appear balanced but I personally know which side I'm on. In the end it is the responsibility of individual governments to combat piracy. As they say prevention is better than cure. It is incredible to me that governments will do anything in any other situation to prevent acts of terrorism these days. However, in this known problematic area where the evil flourishes man made laws, I believe, don't allow ships to have the proper security and weaponry to defend themselves against such acts. This is not only costly in all ways, but demonstrates stupidity in an extreme form. Stupidity that should be curtailed now!
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  2. Oct 29, 2013
    9
    I have to admit that this movie was absolutely stunning! I had absolutely no expectations what so ever before watching this movie. I have seen the Danish movie "The Hijacking (Kapringen)", which is about the same (Story loosely based on true events).
    Captain Phillips was great! I know you should take the story with a pinch of salt and I did. The movie by it self was so exciting and the
    last 30 minutes of the game my Heart was literally beating nonstop, faster and faster! Great performance by Tom Hanks. This movie is a must see! Expand
  3. Oct 28, 2013
    8
    Superbly directed by Greengrass and led by Hanks and Abdi's powerful performances, 'Captain Phillips' is a tense and exhilarating film experience, that may lose its way in its second act, but is compensated for in it outstanding first and second.
  4. Oct 28, 2013
    8
    Being held hostage by a dangerous group of modern-day pirates as they wield automatic weapons is something nobody wants to experience, but Captain Phillips will probably be the closest you’ll get to knowing what it's like.  The film is based on the true story of the brave commander of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama, which was seized in 2009 by a crew of Somali pirates.  The gritty cinematography and the realism of the characters make Captain Phillips one of the best films of the year.
    Director Paul Greengrass, who's works include the Bourne sequels and United 93, once again used his infamous shaky-cam techniques to effectively give the feeling of disorientation and boost the intensity of the film. The cinematographer was Barry Ackroyd, who chose to shoot with different film depending on which characters were in the shot. If Hanks or his crew members were in frame, they were shot on 35mm, which produced a higher quality picture with more vivid colors and less of a grainy look. On the other hand, the pirates were shot with 16mm film, giving off a more grainy look with slightly duller color. These contrasts, along with the hand-held camera look and close-up face shots all accumulated to intensify the already horrific situation. Greengrass' cast consisted of almost all no-name actors besides Tom Hanks, who gave a possible oscar-nominating performance as he displayed the bravery of being Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama. In order to add to the realism, Greengrass didn't let the pirates and Hanks meet each other until they were on set and about to film. The fear expressed on Hank's face may have also been natural.
    The first 20 minutes of the movie was the calm before the storm. Hanks is packing his bags, getting ready to leave his house in Vermont. His wife drives him to the airport, and you can't help but notice how worried and visibly scared she is. Her tears and feelings of uncertainty foreshadow the horrific events that follow. Viewers become emotionally invested knowing the captain has a loving wife back home. Meanwhile, back on the shores of Somalia, a dream-team of pirates is being assembled. Similar to the drafting process of a schoolyard football game, about 8 men are selected from the group, based on strength and determination. The Somalians grab their AK-47s, and climb into their motorized skiffs as they head to sea with only one objective to bring home money. Even though the Somalians are embarking on a journey of crime, all they want is a better life. The contrast of Phillips home-life versus life in Somalia is nothing but saddening. A part of you almost roots for the pirates to return home with their ransom money.
    When Hanks first steps foot on the ship, he goes right into captain mode. He immediately starts safety procedures and bosses around his lazy group crew workers. After finishing up his last safety drill, he spots 2 skiffs on his radar, headed his way quickly. One skiff ends up turning around, but the inevitable happens, and the Maersk Alabama is boarded by 4 Somali pirates. As Hanks sends the crew to hide out in the engine room, he does his best to distract the impatient pirates by offering them water and melon slices to snack on. But the leader of the hijackers, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), has had enough, and eventually takes the captain hostage on a small covered lifeboat, while demanding a ransom of millions in exchange for his return.
    The claustrophobic lifeboat consisted of Captain Phillips, Muse, and his 3 other helpers the right-hand man, the hothead, and the rookie. While in the lifeboat, Hanks begins to form a relationship with the rookie pirate, who's only 16 years of age and displayed just as much fear as Hanks. Hanks helps the youngster bandage his cut foot and tries to speak with him. He tells the Somalian that he is too young to be hijacking ships. The dynamics of their relationship was interesting. They both secretly helped each other, trying to avoid being caught by the hothead, who never hesitated to scream at Hanks and deliver a pistol-whip to his forehead. As the movie progresses, your concern for the safety and future of the young pirate is right there with your concerns for the captain.
    What follows is an intense cat-and-mouse game with the U.S. Navy and the little orange lifeboat, full of failed negotiations and uncertainties. Once the lifeboat is surrounded, it is clear that all 5 men are unsure if they will make it out of there alive. All 130 minutes accumulate to what is one of the most intense movie climaxes you'll see. And Hank's brilliant acting in the last 4 minutes caps the movie with a real, heartfelt ending that everyone must see themselves.
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  5. Oct 27, 2013
    9
    Captain Phillips 2013 Director: Paul Greengrass Tom Hanks brings another spectacular, emotional, well presented, and inspirational movie to the big screen. The movie introduced new characters but all of them did their individual roles with excellence. The content of the movie is very new to viewers and successfully introduces the life of pirates. When Captain Phillips leads this massive cargo ship from Jordan to Kenya, it was all supposed be a normal route. But, after several hours in the sea, Captain Philips and his crew faced the unexpected reality of pirates. The fear portrayed by Captain Phillips and his crew and the emotional rollercoaster and dramatic environment makes the movie very interesting to watch and enjoyable at the same time.

    As American, watching the Navy Seals plan and execute a successful mission to save a single American's life is a very inspiring moment and makes viewers proud. The last minutes of the rescue, the intense exchange between the pirates and the American rescue team and the situation inside the lifeboat was very dramatic and all characters performed their part with excellence.

    The movie is a masterpiece in all aspects and is a movie worth watching and a movie that will be remembered.

    Source:

    Captain Philips Movie 2013
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  6. 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 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
  7. Oct 26, 2013
    9
    A terrific film that is well paced with many edge of your seat moments. Tom Hanks gives a fantastic performance that allows you to feel what a real life situation for a captain is like. A
  8. 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 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
  9. Oct 25, 2013
    7
    The film is presented with a rather impressive hand-held camera style, and the plot engages the audience with a balanced pacing of thrills. Tom Hanks is somewhat banal, and his character is oddly superfluous, though not absolutely. The real force is Barkhad Abdi, an amazing new talent. His character is both contemptible and sympathetic, and he brings a raw experience having grown up in Somalia. And I must add that his improvised line "Look at me, I'm the captain now", shows his capabilities. I support his Oscar buzz. Expand
  10. Oct 25, 2013
    9
    Captain Phillips is an absolute must see film! A stellar performance by the acting god that is Tom Hanks under the direction of the ever dependable Paul Greengrass makes for a highly watchable film. One of the best films you will see for sure. It doesn't disappoint! Based on a true story, Captain Phillips (Hanks) takes command of the MV Alabama under orders to sail it's cargo through the Gulf of Aden to Mumbasa. However, during their journey, Somali pirates board the ship and take him hostage. From their Greengrass excels in doing what he does best. Delivering a suspensful and incredibly tense experience that will have on the edge of your seats wondering what waits round every corner. Barkhad Abdi's portrayal as the pirate leader Abduwali Muse was wonderful. But as the film heralds towards it's conclusions it's all about Tom Hanks. His performance is undoubtedly an Oscar worthy and he excels and steers the film over the finish line. The film exceeded all expectations I had, but then again it shouldn't have. Paul Greengrass has an impeccable track-record and Tom Hanks never lets you down, he's Hollywood gold! One of the films of the year. Definitely a must see! Expand
  11. Oct 21, 2013
    8
    With a director like Paul Greengrass and a leading actor like Tom Hanks you can expect some action and drama. And it is delivered as expected.

    This movie is based on real events, the hijacking of a huge cargo ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009.

    Many people question the historical accuracy of the script. I am not going to comment on it. The movie itself is extremely tense
    and well made.
    Maybe the music is at times a bit too "dramatic" to my liking. But performance is solid across the board, and Tom Hanks once again demonstrated that he is one of the very best. I am confident he will be nominated for Oscar and very well may win it (for the third time).
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  12. Oct 21, 2013
    9
    A very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable film. Definitely one the best films that I have seen this year and a must see at the moment. Tom Hanks plays a great lead role and I was not disappointed after seeing this movie.
  13. Oct 20, 2013
    8
    Excellent and uncomfortably enjoyable. An initial sketch (not gratuitous as Salon.com claimed) gives a brief insight into who Phillips is, that he has regular domestic anxieties: in short, that he is not a hero, or even a hero in the making. Similarly, the introduction to the Somalis helps us see that they are not villains, but victims of the shocking inequalities in the world.

    Hanks,
    cast as Everyman once again, comes under increasing pressure as the ordeal unfolds, yet whilst you want him to be freed, you have more sympathy for the pirates than you might have anticipated. When the might of the US war machine swings into action, the ruthlessness of the resolution is neither admirable nor triumphant. Relief is tinged with regret, that we live in a world where the weak cannot survive against such odds. Expand
  14. Oct 20, 2013
    8
    With crisp, invigorating direction, a sizable array of engrossing performances, a pulse-pounding score, and subtly profound thematic intrigue, Greengrass strikes thriller gold once again with "Captain Phillips."
  15. Oct 19, 2013
    7
    I'd been looking forward to CP since the trailer, love adventure stories and this was a good one. I'm not a fan of jittery camera films, however, and this one was 90 percent on the jitter even when it didn't need to be. So I have a little headache now.
    The tactical dilemma that's at the core of the story is fascinating and I'm sure has led to a lot of second-guessing as to how the rescue
    should have been handled.
    The pirates were really scary dudes, despite not having eye-patches or parrots or peglegs.
    Clearly men wrote and directed this movie as they totally ditched the wife after the opening scene. It would have added another dramatic element to have her following the news and getting updates from the military. No doubt their sons also would have come home to support her. This would have been a good balance to Phillips thinking about his family. A massive military rescue at sea is great, but the old ball and chain clinging to the Kleenex would have been a nice, effective emotional touch.
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  16. 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. 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
  17. Oct 18, 2013
    2
    The well was poisoned for me. 1. Capt Phillips story is totally fabricated by Hollywood. The crew hated him and have filed lawsuits against the movie's story. To please his bosses Phillips ventured to within 250 miles of the coast even though he had incessant advance warnings to stay beyond 600 miles! 2. Helpless non-armed million dollar ships deserve whatever they get if they don't arm themselves in any way and choose to cower like scared church mice in a dark corner when danger threatens. Phillips fired flares at the approaching pirates. No, not joking, that's how pathetic this is. Only thing acceptable about the movie were the production values and Tom Hanks' actual performance as fantastically made up as it was. Expand
  18. Oct 18, 2013
    10
    Finally, a truly great movie with perhaps "The Prisoner" the only other drama worth seeing in a year of stunning failures. "Captain Phillips" is brilliant, and based on a true story I remember from 2009. Of course, Tom Hanks is the catalyst here, and once again shows the movie world why he is the greatest living actor today, although Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be a major force to reckon with if he isn't already, and the great Jennifer Lawrence, probably the best actress out there, will be out in the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire" and a new movie with Bradley Cooper later.
    The key to Hanks' greatness is his believability. Regardless of his role, he can assimilate anything, making us really think he is what his role says he is. Nobody could possibly have pulled off "Forrest Gump" or "Saving Private Ryan" except him. Now, as a captain of a cargo vessel bound from Oman to Somalia, his ship is taken over by a bunch of unbelievably scraggly pirates, who all deserve praise for their authentic portrayals as well.
    I must ask is the lead pirate called "Mule" an authentic Somalian who Hollywood rescued for this role? If not, it's shocking how well they did making him especially gruesome and emaciated, almost making the viewer understand how starvation and the brutal regimes controlling that part of the world force people into desperate situations.
    Without giving up the plot, which is predictable because it was a well covered news story, we see the workings of a cargo ship, the Navy SEALS and the plight of Phillips with alarming accuracy and not a shred of doubt.
    It is my favorite movie of the year, and perhaps the most moving part is at the end of the film, with Phillips safely in sick bay, and suffering the hysteria of the ordeal as a Navy Corpswoman looks him over. No silly ass tough guy theatrics here his reaction is just what normal people would do, not make lame jokes like a Mark Wahlberg film. In that briefest of times, Hanks puts himself in the top running for an Oscar, and makes you almost cry. All hail Tom Hanks and the crew who put this masterpiece together.
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  19. Oct 18, 2013
    7
    Paul Greengrass is a director who always focuses his attention on depicting on screen events as realistically as possible. He also knows how to deftly build momentum and a sense of impending urgency and doom, which makes his films always riveting and thrilling. "Captain Phillips" is no exception the film accompanies the process of the hijacking of the ship, and the ultimate kidnapping of the Captain almost in real time. The audience accompanies those individuals and is asked to embark on that little lifeboat and partake of the feeling of claustrophobia and fear that is created. The menace is presented in a very realistic way, as is the final part of the film, where the director stages the rescue attempts by the group of experts that are deployed. Tom Hanks is solid as the stoic and resourceful Captain, and the overall supporting group of actors depicting his kidnappers are equally strong in their performances. An overall entertaining film worth watching. Expand
  20. Oct 16, 2013
    10
    I saw Captain Phillips in a packed theater during Sneak Preview week. Let me start by saying the movie is outstanding. But many of you are reporting this based on a true story? It depends on your definition of the truth? The NY Post has reported, that 11 of his crew sued the ship company. They blamed Captain Phillips for putting them in harms way and described him as aloof, not in touch with reality, and not a good Captain. So Hollywood gave us their spin which sounds much better just to sell tickets. If you can accept that the truth lies somewhere in between, then this is a very good film; albeit, truthful or fiction. The accolades this film has been receiving are richly deserved. Tom Hanks gives yet another outstanding performance. Even when Tom has nothing to say his acting chops are so brilliant, that his facial expression, says it all. Just about everyone sat on their edge of their seat as the tension during the hostage crisis is so thick, you can literally cut it with a knife. It's the last 15 minutes of this flick when Tom shows his best acting as he releases all the emotions the real Captain Phillips must have felt. Without question, Mr. Hanks will be nominated for another Oscar. This is a must see movie for 2013. Enjoy Expand
  21. Oct 16, 2013
    9
    The biggest praise I have for "Captain Phillips" is that it tells a very dramatic true life story in a very honest fashion. It doesn't feel exaggerated the action and drama plays out in a very straightforward manner. Tom Hanks gives a tremendous performance, with enough hints of the Captain's ego to fight off claims he is being canonized in the film. If you see an ad for this film and it appeals to you, then the film will deliver. The acting is terrific, the action sequences tight and exciting, and as usual, Greengrass uses a "documentary feel" to his directing that makes it feel as I said as the beginning honest. And that is a great compliment to everyone involved. Expand
  22. Oct 15, 2013
    8
    This film is based on a true story about a cargo ship that's overtaken by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks plays the captain, who smartly handles the invasion, then bravely endures what comes next. His final scene is the most moving. The tension holds steadily throughout and builds to an effective climax, although it does run a bit long.
  23. Oct 14, 2013
    8
    So overall I enjoyed Captain Phillips and it is one of the better films of the year. Good acting, engaging film, and nice cinematography. If you can get past its somewhat lengthy running time and shaky cam & close-ups I think you’ll enjoy the film.
  24. Oct 14, 2013
    9
    The movie was extremely well done with fantastic acting, solid pacing, and very engaging story. Tom Hanks is amazing as usual. No complaints. It is long but does not drag and there are some cool military scenes near the end. Highly recommend.
  25. Oct 14, 2013
    10
    Captain Phillips is an astounding biopic that is executed with delicate precision to show the true human side of every character involved in the film, evoking pathos, joy and numerous other thoughts and emotions as the tension is expertly built throughout the film. Without a doubt, this is one of Tom Hanks's best performances of his entire career.
  26. Oct 13, 2013
    9
    This movie was both entertaining and thought provoking. My family was talking about it well after the movie was over and that is almost always a sign it was very good. Even the most critical eye theoretically would call this movie good or very good. The few going negative on it either didn't actually see it or might be trolling.
  27. Oct 13, 2013
    10
    This movie is a Paul Greengrass classic! It's an outstanding movie with fantastic acting, especially Tom Hanks. I haven't seen him this good in such a long time. The thrills are there and the adventure based on the true story is unbelievable. This is worth learning about. Overall, it's another Paul Greengrass hit. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel "TheMovieManLife" for all things movies.
  28. Oct 12, 2013
    8
    Captain Phillips is brilliant, captivating and "direct hit." The film was a little bit slow in the beginning but picks up and leaves you holding tight on your seat. There are moments where you just want to turn away and holding your hands to your mouth. Tom Hanks shows time and time again why he is one of the best in the business. He played the character with so much depth it makes you think what would you do in his situation. The last few minutes of the movie is sure to earn him his award nominations for Best Actor. Expand
  29. Oct 12, 2013
    9
    “Captain Phillips” is the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and his cargo ship Maersk Alabama which, in 2009, became the first American cargo ship to be hijacked by pirates in over 200 years. The film stars Tom Hanks in the title role with Barkhad Abdi and Barkhard Addirahman playing 2 of the 4 Somalian pirates. Written by Billy Ray and based on the book by the Captain,, this is an intense, armchair gripping story of one man’s drive and ability to deal with his captors while at the same time seeking to protect his crew and his ship. Tom Hanks was never better and he proves here, as he has done so many times in the past,, that he is a versatile and extremely talented actor. This is action and drama at its best and rightfully deserves a 9.. 134 minutes of viewing time was never better spent. Expand
  30. Oct 12, 2013
    10
    Finally a good movie and maybe the best of 2013. Tom Hanks deserves an Oscar. The rest of the cast was excellent also. It's a must see movie if you love suspence.
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.