Pirates wear black hats with feathers or skull and crossbones emblems, a parrot perched on their shoulder, and they carry a jug of grog in one hand and a saber in the other – always ready to walk the plank. As far as the images as we have them in mind, romanticized by Asterix , Pirates of the Caribbean or many other examples from literature and film. Today’s reality looks a bit different. Pirates are still roaming the seven seas and hijacking defenseless ships, but methods and perpetrators have changed. The frequent attacks on the Somali coast in particular made the headlines a few years ago, but hardly any more than the spectacular kidnapping of Captain Phillips.
Parallel to the highly exciting thriller elements – and there are, as a spectator you often sit on the edge of the sofa – Captain Phillips develops into a human, really hard drama. We have known since Flight 93 that Greengrass has experience with this as well, in which he once wanted to portray a real tragedy as realistically as possible: the hijacking of September 11th. He has also succeeded in claiming authenticity here, his decision to actually shoot all the scenes at sea instead of in the studio really benefits his film. Nothing seems exaggerated, you always have the feeling of being on board the ship yourself. The second half of the film might have been a bit long, so the story hardly progresses at times. Apart from that, however, the Irish director has succeeded in creating a very good mix of genres, which still has an effect after the credits have passed.
In the one moment a brutal human drama, then again highly suspenseful thriller Captain Phillips tells the true story of a ship hijacking. Authentically staged and brilliantly played, the genre mix offers very good entertainment over long stretches.