Netflix True Story Thriller Delivers Nail-biting Suspense You Won’t Forget

By TeeJay Small | Published

captain phillips

In today’s modern microwave culture of ultra short-form content, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trends, and constant doom-scrolling, most Hollywood blockbusters just don’t have the same impact that they used to. One terrific example of how films took a stranglehold on culture as recently as a decade ago is 2013’s Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks. The film, which is currently available to stream on Netflix, is a suspenseful thrill-ride which popularized quotes such as “Look at me, I am the captain now” for years after its release.

Cast And Crew

Tom Hanks stars as the titular sea Captain Richard Phillips, alongside a cast which consists of David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. Ali, as well as Severance‘s Michael Chernus and Get Out‘s Catherine Keener.

The film was written by The Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray, and directed by Jason Bourne filmmaker Paul Greengrass, based on the real-life Richard Phillips’ book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea.

The Set Up

The narrative of Captain Phillips centers on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, an unarmed shipping container vessel which sailed through the dangerous waters of the Guardafui Channel to make its journey from Oman’s Port of Salalah to Mombasa, Kenya.

Though the route was known to be highly dangerous, the crew of the Alabama likely had no conception of the traumatic experience their historic voyage would have in store for them.

During a run-of-the-mill safety exercise, Hanks’ Captain Phillips spots a pair of small skiffs approaching the ship from the rear, and takes evasive maneuvers to avoid an altercation with a gang of incoming Somali pirates.

The Ship Is Boarded

While Phillips is able to ward them off for a brief amount of time, the pirates eventually board the ship, just as the captain finishes stashing the whole crew within the dark safety of the engine room.

As the pirates search the ship for goods and hostages, they force Captain Phillips to radio to his mission command center for a ransom. Throughout the intense film, the seafarer spends a great deal of time and energy attempting to negotiate with the pirates, before offering himself up as a hostage to save his fellow crew-mates.

A Film That Made A Real Life Impact

I won’t get into the thrilling conclusion of Captain Phillips here, but suffice is to say, the film will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire 2+ hour run-time.

The real-life hijacking was a major international event which, when combined with the success of the film, popularized the threat of Somali pirates across the coast of East Africa, and had massive long-term effects on cargo shipping throughout the region.

Captain Phillips was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and currently maintains a staggering 93 percent certified fresh critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stream It Now

captain phillips


If you somehow missed this film, you definitely need to check it out soon. Tom Hanks’ understated performance is probably the biggest highlight of the film, as he offers a level-headed de-escalation to the pirates, even as he panics like never before. If you’re looking forward to watching Captain Phillips, the film can currently be streamed on Netflix.