This is based on the true story of a container ship’s hijacking by Somali pirates, and the attempts by the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) to outmanoeuvre them both before and after they board.
The low-key start isn’t promising, with dialogue that’s naturalistic to the point of blandness – a problem throughout the film. But the action does build. Hanks, initially dull, comes good as a man holding it together under increasingly intense pressure from captors who aren’t really thinking their actions through.
The portrayal of the US military might later brought to bear on the situation can be seen as either flag-waving or a comment on its impotence in the face of the pirates. We also get a bit of the pirates’ back story, but not enough to elicit much sympathy. So it’s all a bit black and/vs white. 7/10
Released October 24, 2013.