I wasn't sure how I felt about this movie as I watched, but the final 10 minutes were riveting. Tom Hanks is exceptional, although the real-life events that serve as the film's foundation vary wildly from what is depicted in Captain Phillips.
File under: "Boomerang Effect" (Michel Foucault). Similar to United 93: lo-fi technology (paper cutter there, four machine-gun pirates here) prevails over uber-globalization forces. But then the Navy Seals show up and restore hegemonic neoliberalism and the logic of the marketplace. But beware of feral cities. Black Hawk Down docet.
Very strong direction from Greengrass, and spot on performance from Tom Hanks (he's heartbreaking in the final scene). Although it's a pity they failed at bringing the humanity of the pirates up front; the idea of confronting this everyday American guy, and a Somali pirate was very interesting. Could have made a very provocative confrontation. Apart from that, it has a nerve racking second act.
Fairly solid all around (particularly the last scene as already stated here), but a not-so novel message - the white Americans do whatever they have to do to save their own kind, and the uncivilised black horde loses in the end.
3.5. Nobody does these thrillers like Greengrass does. Final sequence was really fucking tense. Though it has some problems with pace in the first part and it's too procedural for us to connect with Phillips fully, immensely well made.
Mostly a typical Hollywood thriller, but the cinematography was thoroughly beautiful with a documentary-like rawness (at least, in essence). Generally the performances are convincing - though the Somalis are not nearly as worthy as people have been saying, they were okay at best. The "Westerners-broke-our-country" perspective came in and out, which is drivel, but it was an engaging and thrilling film regardless.