Critics' Corner: Captain Phillips

The story of "Captain Phillips" was huge news in 2009 as a large container ship, the MV Maersk Alabama, was boarded by pirates off the coast of Somali. In an age of rampant terrorism, the story was headline news and was so highly publicized that the President of the United States got involved, along with the Navy Seals. To many, it was shocking news that this sort of thing happens. Pirates? Really? These aren't Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook type pirates, these are desperate, vicious, poor pirates in small boats with nothing to loose. These are pirates who are for the most part, under orders of bigger controlling groups who pray upon the desperate lifestyles of the Somali people.

Much has been said about the accuracy of the book written by Captain Phillips, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy Seals, and Dangerous Days at Sea" and now the movie, "Captain Phillips". In fact, many of the crew of the Maersk Alabama are now suing Captain Phillips for wantonly and arrogantly putting them in danger. They are telling stories that completely contradict much of what you see in the film leading up to the pirates boarding their ship. This to me is extremely disappointing if their stories are true. I believe it is irresponsible for movie-makers to misrepresent history. Many people take the easy way out when learning about history and movies leave a huge impression on their minds.

That being said, I assume that most of the movie is completely accurate as most of what happened after the pirates boarded is documented by news outlets and the Navy Seals. Director Paul Greengrass handled the true story with a realistic eye. He's made a niche for himself with 7-true story films, the most recognizable of those being "United 93". His staging of events is engrossing, vivid and at times tough to watch.

"Captain Phillips" is listed as an action/thriller, but those viewing the film would be quick to mention that this movie shouldn't be lumped in with the typical action movie. I would consider "Captain Phillips" more a drama than an action/thriller. You are side by side Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) through this realistic and horrible incident with pirates who cannot be accused of being intelligent, but are certainly without a morale code or an alternative to their actions.

The movie is tough to watch at times and possibly a little long, but for the most part it is an amazing look inside one of the biggest news stories of 2009. The pirates, although portrayed realistically are infuriating to watch and annoying to watch. From beginning to end they are amazingly fool-minded, disorganized and constantly angrily yelling. I agree that these portrayal's are probably extremely accurate, but as a movie, they are like listening to 10 people yelling different stories at each other for over an hour.

"Captain Phillips" is not for everybody and there's a reason why the creators called this an action/thriller. If they told you what it really was, you probably wouldn't go. "Captain Phillips" is not fun to watch and far from thrilling. It is not filled with harrowing and exciting bravery at every corner. It is not filled with twists and turns. It is a dirty, difficult and drudging film that tells the story of real people in a horrible and real situation. If you like that sort of thing, go see it.