Samir Mehta: “It ruled.”
Paul Greengrass has made another modern thriller masterpiece. This movie was far better than I had ever expected. Hanks is near his career peak (mighty praise) and Barkhad Abdi is a revelation. Greengrass nails the tension and sense of place and he has a perfectly building sense of momentum. That's not surprising. What is astonishing is the deep sympathy the film creates for the pirates. To say more would ruin it but this is a wonderful film, an authentic and emotionally resonant action film that doesn't buy into the easy notions of heroism and villainy.
Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
There are some terrific minutes of prolonged tension here, and some great acting by the two leads, and that much-celebrated final scene is a knockout. But the movie is not immune to clichéd characterization, and the second half aboard the lifeboat keeps repeating the same dramatic beats over and over, taking way too long to reach the resolution we all know is coming. I'd watch Paul Greengrass direct professionals doing anything at this point; he has a documentarian's patience for simply letting us watch life unfold naturally.
Samir Mehta: Funny, this was, to me, the BEST of Greengrass's films by far. I had the same issues with United 93 you had with Captain Phillips. I think what sets Captain Phillips over the edge, to me, is the humanizing of the Somalis - it adds depth and suspense I've never seen. I was left feeling quite bad for the pirates - I obviously don't feel this way for the hijackers of the 9/11 flights. − February 6, 2017 more by Samir
Scott Hardie: I haven't seen United 93 , so I couldn't compare them. I thought the pirates were stock archetypes from movies like this: The bully, the hothead, the nervous kid, etc. Only the lead pirate Muse seemed multi-dimensional. They were indeed sympathetic, though. I felt bad for them too, especially since they were basically forced into a suicidal mission. − February 7, 2017 more by Scott