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4 Reasons Why Captain Phillips Is One of the Year’s Best Thrillers…

... and one reason why it’s leftist propaganda.

by
John Boot

Bio

October 11, 2013 - 9:00 am
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With the true-life maritime thriller Captain Phillips Tom Hanks has his best movie since Catch Me If You Can 11 years ago. Here are the reasons it works so well — and the reason its leftist politics cause it to fall into a trap while reaching for social significance.

1. Paul Greengrass.

The director of the second and third Bourne movies and United 93 is perhaps the reigning master of tense, absorbing, completely credible you-are-there cinema.

Captain Phillips is very much in that vein of breathless suspense. Vermonter Captain Richard Phillips was piloting the Merchant Marine vessel the Maersk Alabama off the Gulf of Aden when Somali pirates using simple skiffs were lurking in the waters looking for a lone ship they could pick off and hold for millions in ransom. Phillips himself endured a five-day ordeal, harrowingly depicted with Greengrass’s trademark quasi-documentary style.

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Top Rated Comments   
You don't know many captains, do you?

Let me tell you some back story. I never sailed with Phillips, but sailed with guys that did.

The Chief Engineer, when it was imminent that the vessel was going to be seized, killed the engine, killed the generators, and shut off the lights.

They deliberately did not silence the alarms and flashers that result when you o these things, and then the rest of the crew retired to the steering gear room, which they had " hardened".

In the unlikely event that these wretched barefoot beggars had managed to start the gennies and the engine and silenced the alarms and done everything necessary to get the ship under way, they would not have found themselves heading for Somalia, but rather most likely Diego Garcia...where the Limeys would have hanged them,(at least in the days when HM's Government used EFFECTIVE anti piracy policies).

You don't REALLY think that that cute little wheel on the bridge actually steers the ship, do you? Ships can be steered with wee little solenoids, called "trick switches", from almost anywhere you wish to run a circuit.

There was no reason at all for Phillips to remain on the bridge.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uh, gang....

Here it is 4 years after the seizure of the Maersk Alabama...and we seamen are STILL disarmed by government fiat.

We are not ALLOWED the firearms to credibly defend our ships...our HOMES...with.

A few lousy 12 gauge pump shotguns and a darkened deck....and keep the a$$hole lawyers from us after the fact...and soon there would be no more pirate attacks because there would be no more pirates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As you're reading, you keep thinking "why didn't he do this", or "why didn't he do that". He says he's a fan of John Wayne, but he certainly doesn't show any blood-thirsty willingness to take it to the pirates. He's a very understanding hostage. And, note that both the captain and the company are currently being sued because they were within 200-some miles of the Somali coast, when they had been warned to be 600 miles out. Finally, he spends a *lot* of time talking about Obama, how grateful he is to That Person rescuing him, and how wonderful it was that (1) Obama called him personally on the telephone *and* (2) invited him to the White House. It's my own personal belief that anyone who believes Obama is wonderful is not a rocket scientist, regardless of how many licensing exams they may have passed (see also over-educated PhD types).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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According to a story in the New York Post, the crew members say that practically the entire movie script is an elaborate lie. They are suing the ship line for many millions of dollars and are accusing the Captain of deliberately placing them in danger.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The recent interview with some of the actual crewmen tells a completely different story and Phillips was certainly no hero. He was told by his company to go no closer than 600 miles from the coast and he disobeyed that order. He was shown a chart of all the recent pirating boardings including the location and time by his crew but ignored it. He actually ran a fire drill during and attack by the first set of pirates that were unsuccessful. They said the man is despised by all who sail under him. Oh wait! This is Hollywood so we do not expect any truth in the whole movie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting article about the "Captain Phillips" debacle posted on the NY Post. The movie is mostly a piece of fabrication, apparently. He reminds me of the B-52 pilot that crashed in 1994 in Washington state. A walking accident (or maybe planned accident) waiting to happen. Rogue Blue is the book about the pilot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't have watched the movie anyway, but now that it's come out that the whole story of heroics is an abject lie I'm beginning to dislike even hearing about the movie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger that Bilgeman II.
Have been a merchie for 11 years now. When I first got into the outfit, our standing orders, if attacked, were to lock ourselves into our staterooms! Enough people complained using the logic that they'd rather fight and defend the ship (why give up the HUGE advantage knowing their ship?) rather than having our families watch our heads being cut off on an endless loop on Al-Jazeera. Over time, even the most anti-violent people began to see the wisdom of this strategy. For those who still hold to the same anti-violence policies, they should know that it is OUR a$$ on the line out there. Better to be tried and convicted of defending the ship by 12 landlubbers than taken hostage by scum like that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Frankly, I'm curious, Popeye.

What sort of regulations require any ship to have a well-paid all-Yanqui crew. I thought the usual worldwide practice was to use abysmally-paid and ill-treated Filipino/Javan/Bangaladeshi crew (the "lascars" of old) and Ukranian/Eastern European officers?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't know if you've ever had the experience of feeling like the Ultimate Tool,( standing piracy watch at midnight...unpaid overtime... in the Phillips Channel with nothing more than a fire-hose), as I have, but to my personal mind, once the master of the vessel loses command of the vessel, then he has abrogated his authority over me as my Captain and his "orders" are thereby mooted....just so much chin-music from some clown with a license to skipper a boat....but no longer having a boat to skipper.

In that case....he can jump over the side AFAIC, and until the next in line steps up to take command and keep it, I'm a free agent.

As you know, when you sign the Articles, you belong to the vessel....not necessarily the man temporarily entrusted to command it.

If you asked the Maersk Alabamans, they'd probably tell you that they were more than content to let Phillips sail away in the lifeboat with his new buddies.

Chops are due to the Chief Engineer and the Chief Mate for stepping up and keeping the lads playing in the Marching Band when the Drum Major took his personal detour.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The whole long-running Somali pirate saga is funny in a bitter way. For years the shipping companies tried to ignore the problem, paying ransoms and ignoring the deaths of third-world seamen, while the Great and Good wrung their hands over the fine points of "international law" and proclaimed their helplessness.

From what I've read this whole multi-gazillion dollar multi-national naval deployment is an ineffective farce for the most part.

Only recently, when the cost has become too painful to ignore are the shippers doing the obvious and placing armed guards on ships. It's all too obvious that even a single halfway-decent marksman with a halfway decent rifle could easily pot the crew of an approaching skiff. How expensive is that?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I figure that the captain has practical and demonstrable professional knowledge in a certain area that most people do not attempt to learn due to the amount to be learned or they do not like the job however well it pays.

His knowledge base is still more respectable than some who has a degree in Womens Studies or Queer Studies.

I'll agree that outside of navigation and seamanship he is a dim bulb.

200 miles out? I would think that he would never work again. Who would hire him?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
From the articles I've read in that vein it sounded like the formal standing orders were to stay 600 miles away from the Somali coast but that the wink-wink policy was that Maersk would look the other way if a captain shaved a few days off the course. So long as he got away with it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
saw the movie and as entertainment, based on recent history, it had me on the edge of my seat while knowing the outcome. That is good story telling.

As to the movie, there are several plot holes, toward the end that while distracting, didn't dominate, so that is a good thing for a movie.

And Hanks played the role, that can and will justify the academy wanting to honor him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FWIW, it would surprise me not a bit to learn that most of the pirate attacks are "inside jobs".

More effective regulations among the worlds civilized seafaring nations has closed whole swaths of the globe to substandard rustbucket shipping, and the kinds of bastards that own those death-traps.

Being that these kind of ship operators ate the slime of the sea, they are in the habit of not paying the wages to the first families of the poor miserable schmucks stuck at sea for months on end.

So if a guy approaches one of these forgotten and exploited seamen and offers a few months of drinking beer and fishing while sitting on his behind in Somalia, along with a cut of the ransom money, what's he got to lose?

Maybe with the ship operator and owners out of the way and the P&I Club calling the shots, he'll have a better shot at seeing his back pay.

In this aspect, the "exploited by capitalists" rap would be quite true.

As far as over fishing goes? I don't buy it. Chalk that up to the Somalis not being able to get their government act together and protect their fishery.

Its not like you're going to use a container ship for trawling.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Bourne movies were garbage. Whether this Director did 'em all or not. A pip squeak like Matt Damon being some billy badass.. gtfoh.

I love writer Lee Child's, 'Jack Reacher' novels though he too f'd up when he'd been given some leeway to pick the actor to play his fictional character Reacher in the movie 'Reacher' (some background.. Jack 'NMN' Reacher often referred to as Reacher is 6'5", muscular, scarred and a drifter) whereas Mr. Child and the film crew chose Tom Cruise? Hey I like most of Mr. Cruise's body of work but he should NOT have been cast in this role.

As for Tom Hanks.. that dude's been taking himself way too seriously following his 80's flicks. I'll watch 'The Man with 1 Red Shoe' or 'Big' any day of the week. His over-the-top dramas (Yep I hated Forrest Gump too) are too much..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>> Hey I like most of Mr. Cruise's body of work but he should NOT have been cast in this role.
I would have agreed with you until I saw the movie, Cruise sold it. It was really good.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Katherine, I HIGHLY recommend you read either the book the movie's based on.. 'One Shot'. Or 1 of the other 17 Jack Reacher novels. I believe you'd then think otherwise.

~ Cheers
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uh, gang....

Here it is 4 years after the seizure of the Maersk Alabama...and we seamen are STILL disarmed by government fiat.

We are not ALLOWED the firearms to credibly defend our ships...our HOMES...with.

A few lousy 12 gauge pump shotguns and a darkened deck....and keep the a$$hole lawyers from us after the fact...and soon there would be no more pirate attacks because there would be no more pirates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
you got that right. Last I looked they had to get up a ladder to board the ship, which means you just have to wait till they climb to the top and blow their heads off.

Guess second option would be like ancient times with boiling oil being poured onto those climbing a ladder.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can make a simply marvelous flamethrower from a dry chemical fire extinguisher....given a drill, a pipe tap, and an air-fitting with a valve.

All you need is some used paint-thinner, which the Bosun would be happy to unload to you, an air compressor to charge it with, and a Zippo lighter.

One wonders what the Burn Unit in Mogadishu General Hospital is like...

Just sayin'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While I was reading the book, I kept thinking how effective just a baseball bat would be. Shipping companies can't afford a few Louisville Sluggers ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They'd be afraid of being sued by the poor guy with the cratered skull who "had recently begun turning his life around...".

This is not BS, either. Some ships DO have weapons, and in discussing a glaring oversight....that the rifles had not been sighted-in...the subject of legal liability occupied far more time than actually ascertaining that the rifle would actually shoot where you had aimed it.

Like I say....you gotta actually know some captains.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is absolutely ridiculous.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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