In the Dark

O Captain, My Captain

Captain Phillips
Produced by Trigger Street Productions
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Screenplay by Billy Ray
Distributed by Columbia Pictures 

Captain Phillips, the film, has come under fire since its opening, as has the eponymous captain of the Danish container ship Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.  Complaints against Richard Phillips have been made in American courts and the American press.  The Alabama’s crew has brought suit against the Maersk Line for having put them in harm’s way when they decided to have Phillips sail the ship off the coast of Somalia.  They’re also steamed at Phillips for allowing director Paul Greengrass and screenwriter Billy Ray to make him a hero.  Once reporters and commentators smelled controversy, they glommed onto the movie, hoping for a media bonanza.

As stimulating as this controversy is, I am going to ignore it for a few moments in order to address its occasion, the film dramatization of what Phillips and his crew had to endure while they were being held captive by four Somali men—little more than youngsters, actually—brandishing and occasionally firing AK-47s.  Greengrass and Ray have translated Phillips’ book, A Captain’s Duty, to the screen with a minimum of fuss and, it looks to me, a maximum of authenticity. ...

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