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A Hollywood biopic definitely worth your time, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (2013) starring Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, and Barkhad Abdirahman has achieved the perfect balance between character backstory, exhilarating action, and of course a suspenseful plot. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS will stand as a contender when evaluating Tom Hank’s best work to date.

This is the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the U.S.-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American container ship of its size to be hijacked in two-hundred years. Hanks, sometimes pushing and other times pulling, leads us through the story of the 2009 hijacking. A brave and resourceful man, Captain Phillips deftly proves just what can be accomplished with a clear head, a touch of diplomacy, and the courage to take whatever measures are necessary when all other options have failed.

Somali pirates are renowned worldwide as ruthless hijackers, regularly preying on private yachts and smaller commercial vessels. According to the Armed Services Committee, foreign vessels sneaking into Somali waters to dump toxic waste have effectively wiped out their commercial fishing, thereby leaving the locals with few options other than piracy. Hijacking vessels to hold for ransom from the insurance companies has reportedly become their only viable source of income with 151 reported attacks on ships in 2011 alone.

Sadly, of the 17,000 metric tons of cargo the Maersk Alabama was carrying, 5,000 tons were relief supplies enroute to Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. Based on the book A CAPTAIN’S DUTY written by Richard Phillips, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is also a testament to the U.S.’s quick response to the hijacking of an American flag ship. Muse is serving 33 years in a U.S. Federal prison, and in July of 2010, Captain Phillips went back to sea. Directed by Paul Greengrass, Rated PG-13, 134 Mins, Adventrue, Biography, Drama. **** 4 stars out of 5.  

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Reviewed by Lynne Martin January 17, 2014
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