Captain Phillips (2013)

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The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. (IMDb)

An effective and well-acted thriller in three parts: First, two contrasting settings slowly converge as the dread grows and the inevitable capture happens. Second, the captains clash in a burst of tense negotiation while Phillips and his crew attempt secret subversions. Finally, a hostage situation pushes characterization beyond bad guy and good guy and builds to a striking epilogue (see Phillips’ breakdown; the subtle theme of American dominance in Muse’s arrest: “All your friends are dead.”)

8.1/10

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