It’s based on true events, and while I don’t assume that anything I watch in a movie is absolutely the way things actually unfolded, its non-stereotypical portrayal of the main characters, particularly the bad guys, in this Somali pirate story is definitely thought-provoking. By the final scenes of the film you actually feel a certain sympathy for the antagonists, themselves at the mercy of oppressive and violent tribal warlords. The sense of extreme danger and the threat of sudden incontrovertible violence is sustained right throughout the film. Yet, this film doesn’t contain very much actual violence, and for once there’s no square-jawed action hero on board to save the day or dodge the bucketloads of bullets that generally keep coming his way and always miraculously miss him! You get the feeling when you see this film, the right feeling to my mind, that violence is ugly and disgusting. It’s got a 12 Certificate in the UK, and if I had a twelve year old child I’d be more than happy to take them along to see a film about a terrifying ordeal that doesn’t in any way glorify violence.
Tom Hanks is on top form in the titular role and Barkhad Abdi as the main pirate Muse is equally excellent and doesn’t look in any way intimidated to be acting opposite such an old experienced hand as Hanks. The direction from Paul Greengrass, whose work I only know from the Bourne films, is very classy.
I can highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it already.