New Releases: Captain Phillips - (2013) Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama, Thriller, Release Date: 2014-01-21 D...
- Paul Greengrass
On March 23, 2009, at a home in Underhill, Vermont, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is packing his bags, checking his passport, and confirming his itinerary before he heads to the airport with his wife Andrea (Catherine Keener). On the way, they express their concern over the changing times and wondering how their children will fare, as they know that it’s a much different world than the one they grew up in and it’s not as easy to find a good job. They arrive to the airport, kiss each other goodbye and Phillips heads inside as Andrea drives away.
Meanwhile, on the coast of Somalia, a group of vans filled with local mercenaries arrives at Eyl, a small village. A young boy hurries to wake up Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who is sleeping on the hard ground inside a rudimentary hut. The boy tells Muse that “they are coming.” The mercenaries are angry that the villagers haven’t provided them with any money for their boss, a warlord named Garaad, since the previous week, and they are ordered to get in their boats and go find something.
Hufan (Issak Farah Samatar) is the local village boss. He operates a fishing trawler (the mother ship) that was hijacked from the Taiwanese the previous year, and two smaller skiffs that are used to chase down and hijack large oceangoing ships. For this trip, Muse and another skiff leader named Asad (Mohamed Ali) are told by Hufan to select three men each and get their skiffs ready. The men all gather around and noisily attempt to get Muse or Asad to choose them. If they have a skill and/or something to use for a bribe, they’ll be more likely to be selected. Usually, the bribe is a sprig of the plant known as khat, which when chewed causes excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria.
Muse chooses Bilal (Barkhad Abdirahman), Elmi (Mahat M. Ali), and a quiet but forceful man named Najee (Faysal Ahmed) for his crew. The other Eyl villagers are surprised that Muse chose Najee, as he isn’t from their village.
The men load the skiffs with long homemade ladders, water, and fuel, then push the skiffs into the surf and power them up for the ride out to the mother ship. Asad tells Muse to stay out of his way “this time.” He derogatorily refers to Muse as a “skinny rat.” Muse obviously doesn’t like Asad and also doesn’t appreciate it when Asad starts ordering his man Elmi around.
Captain Phillips arrives at the Port of Salalah in Oman and takes command of the MV Maersk Alabama, a commercial container ship that is home ported in Norfolk, VA. As he makes his way up to the bridge, he notices that most all of the ladders, hatches and doors are unlocked and fully accessible.
Phillips says hello to his first mate, Shane Murphy (Michael Chernus), who informs Phillips that their orders call for them to sail through the Gulf of Aden and round the Horn of Africa to Mombasa, Kenya. He also provides details of their cargo. They are carrying 2500 tons of commercial cargo, 200 tons of food, 166 tons of fresh water and 250 tons of bunker fuel.
Wary of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, the Captain Phillips orders Murphy to ensure that all doors and hatches to be locked throughout the ship and kept locked, even when in port. After completing the loading of it’s cargo, the ship departs on its voyage.
Hufan checks the radar on his fishing boat and sees that there is a large number of ships in the main channel, but it would be risky to try and take one among all the others of the “herd.” He notices one ship that is separated from the rest. It’s the Maersk Alabama, and that will be their target.
Captain Phillips orders emergency drills to take place at sea so the crew will be as prepared as possible should something happen. Not long after starting their first drill, Captain Phillips glances at the ship’s radar screen and notices two small blips. He goes outside and takes a look through his binoculars. He returns inside and orders Mr. Murphy to return to the bridge.
The captain informs Murphy about two approaching skiffs and orders him to contact the U.S. Maritime Emergency to advise them. There is no response.
Captain Phillips orders the ship to turn five degrees to port to see if the skiffs follow. They do. Phillips then orders Murphy to contact the UK Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) to inform them of a possible piracy situation. The female MTO officer tells Phillips to lockdown the ship and get the fire hoses ready. She advises him to follow established protocol in dealing with any potential pirates, although she suspects these may just be fishermen. Phillips tells her the men approaching are not there to fish. The skiffs have gotten close enough that Phillips can see they are armed.
Captain Phillips alerts his crew of 20 men and tells them to get to their stations. Realizing the pirates probably have a maritime radio, he picks up his own radio and pretends to contact a military ship, Coalition Warship 237. He masks his voice to represent the pretend responding military official. The pirates listen as Phillips first announces that the weapons aboard the Maersk Alabama are ready for use and then, as the pretend military official, that a helicopter or plane will be overhead within five minutes.
Asad (Mohamed Ali) believes what he hears on the radio and orders his skiff to turn around and quit the chase. Muse, however, doesn’t believe what he’s heard and orders his driver to speed up. Captain Phillips orders his chief engineer, Mike Perry (David Warshofsky), to bring their speed up to maximum and to alternately turn to port, then starboard. The wake of the ship created by doing that rocks the smaller boat, but Muse orders Elmi to push the much faster skiff on at full speed. They are nearly to the Maersk Alabama when the engine on the boat gives out, leaving them stranded.
Phillips addresses his crew and tells them they are still going through with their mission as planned and that they’ll need to perform double shifts. Several crew members are frightened and say they didn’t sign up to fight pirates, whom they are convinced will be returning. They suggest heading further out to sea to put even more distance between them and the Somalai coast. Captain Phillips informs the crew that there are five bands of pirates operating off the coast and out in the open ocean, so they can’t avoid them, therefore the Maersk Alabama will remain on course and rely on it’s superior size and established protocol to ward off any pirates. If need be, they’ll take refuge, lock down, and wait for help from the military. He advises that if anybody wants to leave, they will have to wait until they get to Mombasa and fly home from there.
Phillips sends an e-mail to Andrea to keep her updated on the voyage, and tells her that he’s breaking in an new crew and, to avoid worrying her, that the days are “ordinary.”
That night, Muse and his men work from the mother ship in an attempt to fix the engine on his boat. The mother ship is continuing to follow the Maersk Alabama. Muse is not happy that Asad chose to give up the chase earlier. When Asad yells at Elmi to hurry up and fix the engine for his “crew of women,” Muse suggests that Asad give them his engine. Asad says, “shut up, Skinny, you talk too much.” Muse responds, “I may be skinny, but I am not a coward.” This enrages Asad, who points his gun at Muse’s head and demands that Muse repeat what he just said. Muse secretly grabs a nearby wrench, then moves quickly to knock Asad’s gun hand down then bringing the wrech up to whack Asad over the head, knocking him out, perhaps killing him. The blow prompted Najee to remark that “the coward is the first one in the grave.”
Muse and his men then take over Asad’s boat and, after fixing their damaged engine, add it to their new boat, dramatically increasing the horsepower. The following morning, Muse and his men are back at sea and are closing fast on the Maersk Alabama again. Phillips had just finished showering and is called to the bridge by Murphy who informs him that one skiff has returned.
Phillips orders the crew to their stations and orders evasive maneuvers. He contacts the UK MTO again and advises that they are under pirate attack. MTO says that it will contact the military.
When the skiff gets within several hundred yards, Phillips orders the fire nozzles activated to spray outwards. There are large amounts of firefighting water being sprayed all around the circumference of the ship. If the small skiff gets too close, it will likely be filled with water and sink.
Muse uses his radio to tell Phillips to stop the ship, that he and his men are there to help them and they want to come on board. When the ship fails to stop, or even slow down, Muse directs Najee to fire his weapon. He then has Elmi steer the boat towards a gap in the firewater spray along the port side of the ship. He then points his own rifle and fires at Phillips and another crew member who are staring at them from the bridge.
Phillips had directed Murphy to get down to the main deck and fix one of the fire hoses that wasn’t working right and left a gap in the perimeter. Murphy manages to do that, but he’s nearly shot by Najee in the process. Phillips then orders Murphy to get down to the engine room and take charge down there.
Phillips then opens up an emergency kit and extracts two large red flares. He ignites them and directs the flares towards the skiff. They just miss.
The firewater doesn’t prove to be a deterrent as Bilal unlashes the homemade ladder and with help from the others is able to hook it over the side of the railing of the cargo ship. Each man, in turn, then jumps onto the ladder and scurries up the side and onboard.
Captain Phillips orders the majority of the crew to get down to the engine room, to lock the hatches, split up, and hide. He tells them not to open the door or come out unless they hear him give the secret password, “suppertime.” He doesn’t want them to become hostages.
The pirates shoot away any locks they encounter, including that on the door of the bridge. They barge in and point their guns at Phillips and the other remaining crew members. Muse approaches Phillips and tells him to relax, that nobody needs to get hurt, that he and his men are just there on business and once they get paid, everything will be ok.
Muse asks Phillips where the ship is from. Najee is ecstatic when the captain tells them the ship is American. Muse asks Phillips where he’s from. Phillips tells him he’s an Irishman from America. Muse decides he will call Captain Phillips “Irish” from then on. Muse announces that he is the captain now, then asks what sort of materials the ship is carrying, other than food and water.
Phillips tells Muse that there is ,000 in the ship’s safe and he can have it if he and his men will leave. Muse acts insulted and says, “,000, do I look like a beggar?” Actually, Muse may very well have been tempted to take the money and run, but he knew that would never be acceptable to Garaad.
The power to the ship goes down suddenly (the chief engineer had flipped the main switch off), and the emergency power kicks on. Muse demands to know what’s going on. Phillips tells him the ship has broken for some unknown reason. Muse walks along the control panel, randomly poking at switches and buttons, which makes Najee very nervous and he tells Muse to stop.
Muse wants to know where the rest of the crew is. Phillips feigns ignorance and says he doesn’t know where they are, that he’s been working on the bridge. Muse tells Phillips that no one will get hurt as long as he doesn’t try to play games with him. Muse tells Phillips to order his crew to come to the bridge, then decides to speak to them himself, via the intercom. He announces that if the rest of the crew doesn’t come out of hiding, he will begin shooting those on the bridge, one man every minute.
Muse directs Najee to grab Officer Ken Quinn (Corey Johnson), and prepare to shoot him in the head after one minute goes by. Phillips pleas with Muse that if he must shoot anyone, he ought to shoot him, since he’s the captain. Phillips confronts Muse and asks him if this is how he conducts a business transaction, by killing people? Muse ponders that and decides to search the ship instead of killing anyone. That disappoints Najee, who strongly believes in doing whatever seems necessary to get what they want as quickly as possible.
With his thumb secretly holding down the radio transmit button on his walkie-talkie, Phillips tells Muse that searching the ship will be fine, as long as they don’t lose their emergency power, causing the ship to go completely dark. Muse tells Phillips that he wants “no games” during the search for the crew. Murphy catches on to the captain’s hint about the ship’s lighting and directs Perry to get up to the main deck and shut off the emergency power, while he goes to the galley to get them some food and water.
Bilal and Muse go with Phillips to search for the crew. Phillips suggests they conduct the search of the ship from the top down, but Muse quickly catches on to his tactic, and after perusing a diagram of the ship, he directs Phillips to take them to the engine room, which he figures is the source of the ship’s being broken.
Along the way, Muse allows for a stop at the galley to get some water, as it will be hot in the engine room. By then, Murphy was already in the galley and has to quickly take cover when he hears them coming. Murphy avoids detection and after Phillips, Muse and Bilal have moved on, he uses his radio to call his crew in the engine room to warn them that the search party is on the way. He further advises that one of the pirates (Bilal) is barefoot and to spread some broken glass at the entrance to the engine room.
When the search party reaches the engine room, Bilal steps through the door first and right onto the broken glass, severely cutting his foot. Muse directs him to continue on. However, after while, it’s obvious that Bilal is bleeding too much to continue, so Muse orders him to take Phillips back to the bridge and send Najee down.
Meanwhile, Muse continues the search alone. Some of the crew members ambush Muse. During the struggle, Muse cuts his hand on a knife one of the men was wielding. The crew then radio the pirates on the bridge to tell them that they have Muse and they will exchange him for Captain Phillips and a promise that the pirates will take the ,000 and leave. Muse is ordered to verbally agree to those terms and to do it over the radio so his men can hear. On the bridge, Najee is opposed. He wants millions of dollars, but he’s overruled by Muse.
Phillips removes the ,000 from the ship’s safe, places it in a bag, and hands it over to the pirates. Najee demands that Captain Phillips go with them in the lifeboat. Phillips doesn’t agree to go, but he does enter the lifeboat to show Elmi how to operate it. Meanwhile, the crew has released Muse so he can get into the lifeboat. When Phillips turns to exit the lifeboat, Najee hits him and knocks him down, then slams the door shut. Elmi then releases the lifeboat and it plunges down to the ocean.
The USS Bainbridge, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is currently assigned to the Counter-Piracy Task Force 151, operating in the Mediterranean Sea. The commanding officer (CO) of the Bainbridge, Frank Castellano (Yul Vasquez), is contacted by Admiral Howard and informed of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and subsequent taking of Captain Phillips as a hostage on the lifeboat. Admiral Howard tells the CO he is to proceed west and intercept the lifeboat and pirate mother ship. It’s an 820 mile trip.
On board the lifeboat, the pirates begin arguing. It’s hot in the lifeboat and there’s a lack of khat to chew on. Muse tells Phillips that the men are normally fishermen, but the big ships came and took all the fish from their offshore waters.
Phillips offers to treat Muse’s hand and Bilal’s foot injuries. Muse refuses treatment but allows Phillips to tend to Bilal. Phillips talks to Bilal, observing how young he is and wondering how Bilal got himself into this. Phillips applies antibiotic and starts to wrap the foot. He nonchalantly pulls out a knife to cut the bandage, causing Elmi to yell out in alarm. Najee grabs the knife away from Phillips and orders Bilal to move away from him.
A ScanEagle drone from the Bainbridge locates the lifeboat, the pirate mother ship, and the Maersk Alabama, all within a few miles of each other. The crew of the Alabama had decided to follow the lifeboat and their captain. The crew on the Bainbridge determine that it will take about 36 hours for the lifeboat to reach Somalia, only 126 miles away at that point.
Admiral Howard tells the Bainbridge CO that the White House wants a resolution to the hostage matter and that two other U.S. ships, the Halyburton (frigate) and Boxer (amphibious assault ship), along with members of S.E.A.L. Team Six, were being sent to assist. The admiral made it clear that if Captain Castellano proved unable to resolve the matter peacefully, the seals would take care of it. In any event, the lifeboat was not to be allowed to reach Somalia.
Phillips asks for a drink of water, so Bilal gets him some. After he takes a deep drink, Najee sees him and grabs the jug away, telling Bilal that Phillips is to receive no more water.
Muse keeps trying to radio contact Hufan, but is unsuccessful. Eventually, Hufan calls him and tells him that the mother ship was experiencing engine trouble and that Garaad was not happy that Muse screwed up the mission. Garaad was directing that Muse take the lifeboat directly to port in Somalia. That also appeared to be an effort to preserve the mother ship and keep it from being captured.
At the S.E.A.L. Staging Base in Virginia, the members of S.E.A.L. Team Six board a C-130 for their long trip to the west coast of Africa.
Muse tells Phillips that last year, he captured a Greek ship and received million in ransom. Phillips sarcastically wonders why Muse was attacking his ship if he’d already gotten million for the Greek ship. Muse just looks at him and tells him to shut up.
The USS Bainbridge arrives and rudely announces itself to the men on the lifeboat by shining spotlights and blasting it’s emergency horns. When Muse opens the door to reveal the sight of the Bainbridge, Phillips sees it and gets a big grin on his face.
A man calling himself Nemo (Omar Berdouni), is on board the Bainbridge. He speaks Somalian and communicates with the pirates, telling them he works for the Navy. He offers them food and water as a start to the process of negotiating the return of Captain Phillips. Muse tells Nemo that the demand is million. Nemo tells Muse that it won’t be easy, but they can discuss it.
Sailors from the Bainbridge board the Maersk Alabama to assume control of the ship. A Lt. Hicks tells Murphy that they will escort the ship to Mombasa and safety, assuring them that the Navy would take care of the situation with Captain Phillips.
Phillips tells Muse that the Navy is not there to help him, nor to negotiate with him.
Najee is suspicious of everything that the Americans say or do, believing they are lying and setting them up. Nevertheless, Muse agrees to meet with the Navy.
The CO sends Nemo and a number of armed men on two gunboats over to the lifeboat. Before doing anything else, they want to make sure Phillips is ok. Muse orders Phillips to the door of the lifeboat so they can see he’s fine. Phillips asks the Navy members to contact his family and tell them he’s ok, that he’s sitting in seat 15 on the lifeboat (the first of three seat number mentions that the pirates fail to view suspiciously).
Muse pushes Phillips back inside the lifeboat and continues speaking to Nemo. He refuses the offer of food and water. He just wants million. He’s also upset that a crewmember is video recording what’s taking place.
Najee becomes increasingly agitated at the course of the conversation going on outside until he raises his pistol, close to Phillips ear, and fires it through the roof of the lifeboat. The gunboats are immediately ordered to pull back, as the CO fears that Phillips might have been shot. Muse quickly contacts the Bainbridge CO and tells him that Phillips is fine, then puts Phillips on the radio to confirm. Muse tells the CO that he’ll speak to them again once they are in Somalia.
After dark, the USS Halyburton and USS Boxer arrive.
Phillips tells Muse that he needs to take a piss, so Muse allows him to step out of the lifeboat. Bilal is already outside. Phillips tells Bilal that the saltwater would be good for his injured foot and when Bilal looks down to consider that, Phillips pushes him into the water, then jumps in himself. He starts swimming toward the Bainbridge, and the navy crew members spot him and Bilal in the water, but they are unable to identify if one of the two is Phillips, because it is too dark.
Najee aims his rifle at Phillips and tries to kill him so he won’t escape, but Muse orders him to pull back. Muse then jumps in the water and swims out to Phillips and attempt to pull him back into the lifeboat. Phillips loses his shirt in the process. Rather than risk being shot by Najee, Phillips decides to get back on the raft. Once he’s on board, Najee kicks and punches him and Muse has to pull him off before he kills Phillips.
The Seals have parachuted from the C-130 and arrive at the Bainbridge via rubber raft about 0400, about the same time that Phillips has re-boarded the lifeboat.
A Navy helicopter flies over the lifeboat and lights from it and the ship illuminate the little boat. The Bainbridge CO orders Muse and his men to surrender. Najee is upset that they are being bossed around so much and he wants Muse to do something to reassert control of the situation. Muse responds by grabbing Phillips and forcing him through the door, holding a pistol to his head. He then aims the pistol at the helicopter and fires off a few rounds. The helo turns away and Muse and Phillips go back inside.
Muse then orders Bilal to get out the large yellow survivor suit from the floorboards of the lifeboat and then holds the pistol to Phillips’ head again. He then orders Phillips to speak into the radio and inform the CO that he is going to be shot and the survivor suit will be used as a body bag.
The S.E.A.L. Commander (Max Martini) assumes tactical command of the overall operation and he speaks to Muse, informing him that he is the official negotiator on behalf of the Americans. He refers to his notes and begins naming each of the pirates and where they are from. Muse and the others are very much alarmed by that. The negotiator also convinces them that elders from their tribe were being brought to the Bainbridge and were going to assist in arranging for the ransom for Captain Phillips. He says that they didn’t want the exchange of Phillips for the money to be witnessed by the elders, so they wanted to conduct the negotiations out of sight of Phillips.
The plan is to tow the lifeboat to the exchange point. Najee advises Muse that it’s an ambush. Nevertheless, Muse agrees to go over to the Bainbridge and meet with the Navy and the elders as the negotiations take place.
The S.E.A.L.s position themselves on the helicopter deck of the Bainbridge, armed with sniper rifles.
Phillips tries again to convince Muse to give up, before they are killed. Muse responds “I got bosses and they got rules.” Phillips says, “we all got bosses. Muse tells Phillips that the mission was supposed to be simple: hijack the ship, get the ransom, and nobody would get hurt, but that he’d come too far to give up now. Phillips says “there must be something other than being a fisherman and kidnapping people,” to which Muse replies, “Maybe in America, Irish. Maybe in America.”
A skiff from the Bainbridge goes out to the lifeboat to attach a tow rope and pick up Muse. They also surreptitiously attach a listening device to the outside of the lifeboat. While there, a bag containing a yellow shirt is tossed over. It’s a shirt for Phillips. The man tossing the shirt also advises Phillips that he should put on the shirt to keep warm and to make sure and stay seated in the same seat he had been sitting in. He again tells Phillips to stay in the same seat, as they are leaving.
The objective of the S.E.A.L. snipers is to obtain confirmed sightings of each of the three pirates on the raft and take them out. Optimal sighting range is 91 meters. The lifeboat was over 200 meters out, so it needed to be towed closer.
The S.E.A.L. Team Commander orders high speed maneuvering, which requires the Halyburton and Bainbridge to travel the same direction, but somewhat offset, at high speed. That would create a large wake that would bounce the lifeboat around. The negotiator then tells the pirates to steer in the wake of the Bainbridge to smooth out the ride, which would then put the lifeboat in optimal position for the snipers.
After the Bainbridge initiated the tow of the lifeboat, Phillips put his yellow shirt on. Elmi didn’t like the fact that Phillips was moving around and Najee yelled at Phillips to sit still. He tells Elmi that if Phillips moves again, to shoot him. The men on the Bainbridge hear that.
As the Bainbridge tows the raft ever closer, the Seal snipers try but can’t get confirmed sightings of each of the three pirates.
Phillips sees an ink pen on the floor and, after checking that he’s not being looked at, quickly grabs the pen and starts to write one last note to his family on some scrap paper. Bilal sees him and pleads with him to stop or Najee will kill them both. Najee then sees Phillips writing and grabs the paper from him. This infuriates Phillips and he attacks Najee, pushing and punching him. Bilal and Elmi have to pull Phillips off Najee. Najee orders them to tie Phillips up.
The S.E.A.L. Team Commander orders the speed of the tow increased as he realizes time may be running short.
Najee gets on the radio and demands to know where the elders are. He comes to realize that the elders aren’t coming and the Americans have been deceiving them all along. Believing they are all likely to die anyway, Najee prepares to execute Phillips. Men on the Bainbridge witness Phillips being strung up and blindfolded, and advise the S.E.A.L. Team Commander.
Phillips begs the pirates to give up, to just put their hands up. He pleads on behalf of Bilal, observing that Bilal is just a kid. Najee ignores him. Phillips then starts announcing out loud that he loves his wife, apologizing to her for his being out there rather than home with her.
By then, there are two confirmed sniper sightings of the pirates (Bilal and Elmi), but Najee is still not in sight. The S.E.A.L. Team Commander then orders the tow stopped. That causes Najee to stumble forward and into view through a window. That provides a visual on all three pirates and the order to execute is carried out immediately. Blood sprays all over Phillips and he screams. Everything then falls deathly quiet, the only sounds being Phillips’ whimpering, as his blindfold falls from one eye and he is witness to the scene. He goes into shock.
The order is given to take Muse down. He is immediately put on the deck, cuffed and arrested. Muse asks if his friends had been killed. A Navy officer informs him that Captain Phillips is safe and the other three are dead. Muse hangs his head.
Phillips is removed from the lifeboat and taken to the Bainbridge where he is treated for his wounds in the medical department of the Bainbridge by HMC O’Brien (a real-life Navy Corpsman 2nd class named Danielle Albert). The chief asks Phillips if he is hurt and inspects his wounds, including those on his face, head, under his arm, and around his wrists from being tied up. He has trouble responding to her, but when she asks him all the blood on him came from his own wounds, he seems incredulous that she would think so and says no. He becomes overwhelmed with shock and distress and the chief and another corpsman lay him down. Phillips asks if his family knows that he is safe and the chief tells him that they know and he will be able to call them soon. She assures him that everything will be okay.
The epilogue states that Captain Richard Phillips was reunited with his family on April 17, 2009. Abduwali Muse was charged with piracy and sentenced to 33 years the federal correctional facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 2010, Captain Phillips went back to sea.
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