It actually surprised me for being an extremely well told story together with amazing performances by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The film is treated not like a real story or based on real events even though we know about it in the end, but it's handled like a thriller and like a story of how the hunter becomes the hunted. It's a very entertaining film that keeps you in even though you know the outcome.
Superb acting again from Tom Hanks. The movie itself attempts - but unfortunately fails - to fully humanise the pirates and their desperate situation which would have been far more interesting than skydiving Navy Seals and a US military parade. There's great tension in this movie but it was a shame about the script (e.g. Why cast the great Katherine Keener and give her 3 lines?)
cinema should be about transporting you to a situation and making you feel like you are inside it - greengrass does this spectacularly well, fully immersing you in the relentless tension of the situation. hanks gives a perfectly tuned performance and his final outpouring is genuinely heart-breaking
There's something interesting in that medical checkup scene at the end, and the american captain's final reaction ("It's not my blood!"). Maybe this is a too sympathetic and naive interpretation, but it’s as if he (and the film) has been shot out of his practical concerns and acknowledges the systematic injustice of the whole situation. Here is no hero, but priviliged individual rights with blood on its hands.
Now I've seen every '13 Best Picture contender. I resisted this one for a while because it just seemed like some typical bullshit. Aside from Tom Hanks' weird New England accent, this actually pulled it off very well. I knew it'd be suspenseful á la Paul Greengrass, but props to it for giving the time of day to the Somalis' motivations. "Can't you do something else besides piracy and fishing?" "Maybe in America."