Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Captain Phillips

With Johnny Depp busy riding the rails on The Lone Ranger, it falls to Tom Hanks to sate America’s constant need for fun pirate movies. Here Hanks be a salty seafarin’ matey, trying to keep his ship’s booty from being plundered by scurvy buccaneers who also happen to be actual, Somalian pirates, and this is based on a true and rather harrowing story, so never mind about the “fun” part and the pirate talk. Captain Phillips tells the real-life tale of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, which was captured by pirates who were not the swaggering, smirking, louche sort we’ve grown accustomed to, but rather skinny, violent guys with guns. Paul Greengrass directs with appropriate intensity—his usual shaky-cam approach matched and smoothed out by the undulation of the waves—and Hanks is similarly all business, other than a New England accent that just begs for him to offer these hungry-looking pirates a hot bowl of chowdah. He probably won’t though, because this is a serious pirate movie.


Share This Story