"Captain Phillips" tells the true-life story of a merchant ship that is boarded by Somali pirates. The film stars Tom Hanks in a role that's likely to get him an Oscar nomination, and the thriller becomes so tense, you'll never know what's happening next.
Critics are heaping praise onto Hanks, his director Paul Greengrass, and the rest of the cast in what is, by most accounts, a terrific film set squarely in the real world with honest observations about the age we live in.
Here's what the critics are saying about Tom Hanks and his new film "Captain Phillips."
Tom Hanks' Performance
"Watch Tom Hanks, late in Paul Greengrass' gripping thriller 'Captain Phillips,' for perhaps the finest moments of acting in his distinguished career. As Richard Phillips, commanding officer of a container ship hijacked by Somali pirates, he undergoes an unthinkably terrifying ordeal; by its end he's in shock, sobbing quietly from emotion long held in." — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
"Greengrass keeps you off balance — he's a jittery poet of reality. And he proves that yet again in Captain Phillips, his suspensefully spiky thriller based on a shattering incident from April 2009, when the crew of a U.S. cargo ship, the MV Maersk Alabama, was held hostage for several days by a band of Somali pirates armed with machine guns. Early on, Greengrass echoes what he did in United 93, letting us peek separately into the lives of both the victims and their attackers before the vehicle in question takes off." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
That One Scene
"But at the risk of hyping its impact, when Hanks comes out the other side of his real-life character's blood-spattered experience, there's a scene as strong as any I've seen this year, and as strong as any either Greengrass or Hanks has managed in other sorts of movies. It's not a long scene (though one wonders if we're destined to sit through bits of it, over and over, come awards nomination season). 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." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
The Final Word
" 'Captain Phillips' is not only a masterful action movie that breathlessly and believably re-stages a tense standoff at sea, but a resonant portrait of systemized financial imbalance trickling down into the water. While this is arguably Greengrass' best film, it's almost certainly his most urgent." — David Ehrlich, Film.com