Captain Phillips

Movie: Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips
Captain Phillips

Several of my friends – among them people who are nowhere near as obsessed with container ships as I am – have recommended that Tony and I watch this film. It is based on a true story (ahem, ahem) of the heroics of Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama. His ship was boarded by pirates while travelling past the Somalian coast on the way to Kenya. There is an account of the hijacking here, but it will ruin the movie for you if you read it.

Tom Hanks’s reliable acting skills aside, this is a gripping film. The captain ends up in an enclosed lifeboat with the pirates, and half the US Navy turns up to try and resolve the situation. The khat-chewing pirates operate at a level of near-insanity that is terrifying and compelling. Having read The Outlaw Sea and several other pieces on the subject of the at times intractable problem of Somali piracy, the depiction of their desperation and the ease with which they board and overpower a 155 metre long ship ring true.

Although it’s set on a ship, which gave it special interest for us, this is a drama that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes that genre. Both of us would recommend it.

You can get the DVD here or here, and if you’re in South Africa you can get it here.

Published by


Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

Leave a Reply