October 10, 2015
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Joyce and Don Fowler

* * * * *

(Based on true story of Somali piracy)

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. In the case of “Captain Phillips,” an exciting movie based on the Somali piracy of an American cargo ship, truth makes for one incredible movie.

Tom Hanks stars as the title character, a Vermonter assigned to captain a Maersk container ship from Oman, around Cape Horn. Things are fairly routine. There is a procedure in place in case of a pirate attack, and the ship’s crew knows the drill.

Shift to a Somaili fishing village, where a group of rag-tag natives are given instructions to take over the ship at sea and hold the crew for ransom. Two boats with a nervous and on-edge crew bear down on the huge ship. The plan is executed. The pirates eventually take over the ship.

“I am the captain now,” the frightening Muse (Somali born now living in the USA Barkhad Abdi) tells Phillips in one of many intense scenes. Hanks and Abdi play mental games as each try to negotiate a peaceful solution.

The cat-and-mouse game plays out with the addition of Navy Seals, drones, helicopters, hostage negotiators, moving toward an incredible finale. Most of us remember the outcome, but forget the intense details, making the movie even more frightening.

The finale scene, where Captain Phillips, in complete shock, is debriefed, is one of the greatest acting moments on screen, adding to Tom Hanks’ incredible career of one of the world’s greatest actors.

Rated PG-13, with some violence and intensity.

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