Tom Hanks is at his best in harrowing ‘Captain Phillips’

In “Captain Phillips” — a tense, hyper-realistic depiction of the terrifying hijacking of an American shipping vessel by desperate Somali pirates — Tom Hanks gives a powerful performance.

By Moira Macdonald

Article Reprinthanks movie

Watch Tom Hanks, late in Paul Greengrass’ gripping thriller “Captain Phillips,” for perhaps the finest moments of acting in his distinguished career. As Richard Phillips, commanding officer of a container ship hijacked by Somali pirates, he undergoes an unthinkably terrifying ordeal; by its end he’s in shock, sobbing quietly from emotion long held in. Someone asks him his name; in a lesser movie, he might have squared his shoulders and replied, “Captain Phillips” as heroic music swelled. Instead, Hanks simply looks dazed, still trying to get his bearings in a world that turned into a nightmare and back again. “Rich,” he says simply; just a regular guy, not quite sure if he’s in a dream.

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