Captain Phillips – Mesmerizing Geopolitical Thriller

Posted 8 years ago by myetvmedia

‘Captain Phillips’ by UK director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy, United 93, Bloody Sunday, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence), is his latest reality-based high-action, geopolitical thriller. In this turn, Greengrass turns his camera to piracy and kidnapping on the high seas. Tom Hanks, in one of his most riveting performances is Captain Philips, who must match wits with newcomer Barkhad Abdi (Muse), the leader of a desperate band of inexperienced, ruthless Somali pirates played by Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahet M. Ali. The very convincing Barkhad Abdi has an Oscar nom for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role.  Motivated by the illusion of great riches and the fear of reprisal from the real vicious power behind the hijackings – international criminal cartels – the young Somali pirates have no option of turning back. Greengrass has made a career of creating commercial film adaptations based on stories from newspaper headlines and is no stranger to taking chances behind the camera.

‘Captain Phillips’ is based on the autobiographical book ‘A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, NAVY SEALS, And Dangerous Days At Sea’ by real-life Captain Richard Phillips. The book recounts events in 2009 when Phillips’ American freighter the MV Maersk Alabama, bound for Kenya with 20 crew on board and 17,000 tons of cargo, was hijacked by Somali pirates. Phillips was taken hostage. The movie has 6 well-deserved Academy Awards nominations and 9 BAFTA nominations in a field crowded with excellence this year. Nominations include Best Picture, Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray), Best Actor (Hanks), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Cinematography, Direction (Greengrass) and original Music (Henry Jackman). Greengrass received a 2007 Oscar nom for directing ‘United 93’.

Piracy is a growing international threat to commerce on the high seas and Greengrass’s film is extremely timely. He says he chose the very controversial subject to explore in more detail who these pirates are, what motivates them and to shine a light on the disparity between world economies. He felt close to the subject because his father was in the navy. Pirates have been operating highly dangerous and successful hijackings in Somali waters since the 1990’s. Always a romanticized profession —  hollywood’s swashbuckling pirates from the thirties and forties have inspired the hugely popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In reality it is not. Piracy is run by ruthless international cartels, which have taken multimillions in ransoms, resulting in numerous murders in the conflicts. It’s a dirty business reaching around the world with complex political and military ties including the US, Somalia and al-Qaeda. Piracy was at a peak by 2009 as illegal poaching of the rich fish stocks of tuna, anchovies, sharks, rays, lobster and shrimp within the 200 nautical mile limit of Somali waters, became massive.  Local Somali fishermen found it impossible to compete with the large commercial and illegal fishing fleets who carry on today protected by fully armed security forces.


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Captain Phillips – Mesmerizing Geopolitical Thriller

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