The Film Formula: Captain Phillips
- Niki Boyle
- 22 October 2013
We discover the different elements behind the Tom Hanks-starring hijack drama
The Film Formula is our series aimed at boiling down big releases to their most basic elements. This time round, it’s Captain Phillips
Comparisons to Danish thriller A Hijacking have been rife in Captain Phillips reviews, and it's easy to see why. Both feature a small band of Somali pirates taking over a large industrial freighter; both focus on the hostages forced to interact closely with their captors; and both have some relationship with true events – Captain Phillips is a retelling of the Maersk Alabama hijacking of 2009, while A Hijacking's writer/director Tobias Lindholm was inspired by the hijackings of the Danish-owned freighters Danica White and CEC Future in 2007 and 2008.
Captain Phillips helmer Paul Greengrass has dipped his toe into the waters of dramatisation before – his United 93 once again put hostages face to face with their attackers, this time on the titular flight which took place on September 11, 2001. As with that film, Captain Phillips has been praised for Greengrass' dignified direction and commitment to veracity (although some crew members from the Maersk Alabama have taken issue with the portrayal of Phillips).
The film has also been highly praised for its performances, particularly that of leading man Tom Hanks – who, lest we forget, has previous form in oceanic adventures. Yep, Captain Phillips places Hanks once again as the victim of a seafaring tragedy who faces the threat of death, much as he did in...
Captain Phillips is on general release from Fri 18 Oct.