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Captain Phillips | 2013 | PG-13 | - 1.5.4

Based on true events: Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and his crew aboard the container ship MV Maersk Alabama are captured by Somalian pirates in April, 2009. The pirate leader (Barkhad Abdi) holds the captain hostage in a covered lifeboat for five days in an attempt to extort a huge ransom, until Navy SEALs arrive. Also with Michael Chernis, Corey Johnson, Max Martini, Chris Malkey, David Warshofsky and Catherine Keener. Directed by Paul Greengrass. Several scenes feature a Somali language with English subtitles. [2:14]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A husband and his wife hug and kiss briefly as they say goodbye at an airport.
 Several men appear shirtless while changing uniforms or T-shirts or getting out of a shower and we see their bare chests, backs, arms and shoulders.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A standoff occurs between three pirates in a lifeboat and the US Navy: a pirate points an AK-47 at a hostage, who is tied to the ceiling by his wrists until weapons are fired and three pirates are killed off-screen as we hear loud shots and see large amounts blood spatter and gore fly onto the blindfolded hostage, the walls, and the floors of the lifeboat; bullet holes are evident in the windows (we see the open eyes of one dead pirate as he lies on the floor).
 A man begins an argument with another man who kills him with a metal bar to the head, creating much blood flow. Several men capture a pirate: one man hides with a knife, tackles the pirate and stabs him in the hand (he shouts in pain and we see blood cover his hand) while another man holds a knife to his throat to control him as we hear the screams and shouting over the ship's radio.
 Three US Navy ships pull up close to a lifeboat and the pirates scream about whether to kill an American captain they have hostage, but they do not kill him; one pirate shoots a handgun beside the American's head and temporarily deafens him.
 A captain receives brief beatings in several scenes by four pirates: they use the butt of an AK-47 to hit him in the face, the back of the head, and the kidney and stomach areas in different scenes and each time he collapses temporarily (he suffers a bloody nose and some forehead discoloration); at least one handgun and one assault rifle are held pointed at the man through many scenes and later they take a pocket knife away from him, tie him with ropes, hoist him by his tied wrists to hang from the ceiling and then blindfold him.
 A man jumps off the side of a lifeboat after pushing a pirate into the ocean, but is recaptured. A man and a pirate fistfight until the pirate captain shouts to stop and hits the man in the head with a handgun (we hear a groan, but we see no wound).
 Two US Navy combat rafts motor out twice to a lifeboat where pirates hold an American hostage; the Navy men and the pirates point assault rifles at one another, while discussing ransom demands and the pirates pull the American from the lifeboat twice at gunpoint to show he is still alive.
 Four Somali pirates ages 16 to about 22 set out to hijack an American cargo ship and they radio to the Americans that they will be boarded; the ship fires all of its fire hoses and the Somalis open fire while yelling, "Shoot him!" a dozen times (no one is struck); the pirates hook a ladder to the ship and climb aboard, all four firing their guns into the air and into padlocks on gateways to break them.
 Americans bargain to trade the pirate captain for their own captain, but the pirates shove the American captain into a covered lifeboat and shoot at the cargo ship (no one is struck); the pirates hold the American captain hostage for several days in a covered lifeboat and we see the men inside become sweaty, irritated and grimy as they argue continually and chew Khat (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 Eighteen American crewmen of a hijacked ship hide in the engine room and other isolated sites below deck while two crewmen and the captain are held hostage by four armed pirates on the bridge; the pirates are disorganized and shout at one another and the Americans, and two of them continually tell the other two to shoot any of the Americans that move (this never occurs); two pirates and the captain search for the crew when a barefoot pirate walks through broken glass, screams in pain and we see blood covering his foot; the American captain says the injured man will bleed to death but he is forced to hobble up at least two decks of ladders and back to the bridge.
 A desert scene shows men in their teens and early 20s, all carrying AK47 rifles; people shout as SUVs carrying other gun toting men and their bosses arrive and the bosses shout at the young men, telling them they do not hijack enough ships and don't bring in enough money.
 Crime bosses send young men (teens and early 20s) into motorized skiffs to hijack more container ships off the coast of Somalia; the hijackers are shown under the influence of Khat (please see the Substance Use category for more details) and they shout and scream while crews are assembled.
 A freed hostage in a ship's sick bay is examined by a medical officer who cuts off the man's shirt, and helps him to calm himself, stop crying and breathe deeply as he lies down; we see a few lacerations on his forehead and a bloody nose and the blood spatter from other people all over his bare chest, shoulders, arms and trouser legs. A man's injured foot (from walking bare foot in broken glass) becomes more painful and interferes with walking over the next five days, even though the American captain finally cleans and bandages it.
 A merchant captain receives an official email informing him of pirate activity in the Somali Basin and he orders his crew to perform safety drills as two skiffs of armed Somali men are spotted coming fast toward the ship; one skiff turns around and leaves, thinking the Navy is in the air overhead, but the other continues forward until its motor blows out and four pirates in the skiff scream at one another and return to their principal ship, where they argue all night while repairing their skiff.
 A pirate is arrested and handcuffed and a Navy officer tells him that all his friends are dead. The sea is rough around a lifeboat and four Somalis inside blame one another for the problem and shout at one another. A pirate says he needs air and breaks out the window glass beside his seat, where he is driving the lifeboat.
 On a container ship, a crewman says that he did not sign up to fight pirates with the US Navy, complaining that they have no weapons on the ship besides fire hoses; the captain says they have no choice. A man with a cut foot says that he can no longer feel his foot.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 5 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 2 mild obscenities, exclamations (shut-up), name-calling (stupid, idiots, little girls, women [derogatory], skinny, skinny-rat, coward, ugly, dumb), 4 stereotypical references to men, women, Americans, Somalian crime bosses, 2 religious profanities (GD), 3 religious exclamations (Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jeez).


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SUBSTANCE USE - Somali pirates chew plant leaves containing the substance Khat (a mind-altering herb), pirates buy Khat from one another in Somalia, four pirates ages 16 to early 20s chew Khat leaves throughout a 5-day ship hijacking attempt, and pirates argue loudly about who used too much Khat and who is hiding more of it. A man at breakfast jokingly says, "I'll have two beers!" Three pirates have a cigarette behind one ear in different scenes and three pirates light cigarettes and smoke them.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Safety in shipping industry, modern piracy, Somalian poverty and crime, terrorism, guns, American business practices, danger, courage, survival, teamwork, Navy SEALs.

MESSAGE - Poverty and piracy around Somalia continue to endanger the shipping industry.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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