Thursday, March 13, 2014

BEHIND THE STORY: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

SPOILERS AWAIT YOU HERE. YOU MIGHT WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST. MY REVIEW OF CAPTAIN PHILLIPS IS IN A SEPARATE POST.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was disappointed to learn that Captain Phillips is yet another case of a movie that's supposed to be true, but it's fabricated for the most part.

Why can't the truth ever be enough?

I understand that everybody wants Richard Phillips to be a hero, but he isn't. The guy is not too bright. He was warned repeatedly to take a course farther away from Somalia, yet he insisted on being only 250 miles out because it would save time. He said later that it wouldn't have mattered if they were 600 or 1,200 miles out -- that the pirates were determined to catch them no matter what. I find it difficult to imagine that a greater distance wouldn't have been helpful.

At least Phillips himself has insisted that he is not a hero, that the media made him into one. He's right about that. So then, why did he write a book about the experience? The script for the movie is based on his book, and Phillips attended the Academy Awards ceremony and didn't stand up to shout, THIS IS A FARCE. I SCREWED UP!

A number of crew members from the Alabama agree that Phillips is a jerk. One said that nobody wanted to sail with him. Some of them are suing Phillips and the owners of the ship because Phillips didn't obey warnings to take the ship farther out from Somalia. I'm not sure where the suit stands now, but it's probably the sort of thing that will drag on for years.

Phillips is shown taking over a ship on which procedures are lax, but in reality, he didn't follow a number of important safety precautions. In the movie, they're having a safety drill when the pirates approach. In fact, they were having a fire drill and Phillips insisted on continuing with the drill.

The movie's fast cuts make it seem as if everything happens pretty quickly. Most of the crew members followed procedures and were in hiding in 130 degree heat for 12 hours. Phillips seems to be on the lifeboat for a day or so. He was there for five days.

The U.S. spent millions of dollars on the mission to save this guy's life. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been rescued. I am saying it never should have been necessary. At the least, Phillips should have tried a lot harder to make it difficult for the pirates to board the ship.

The Internet Movie Database states:

In real life, Phillips never offered the pirates to take or shoot him instead of his crew. He was held in the lifeboat for five days and was psychologically tortured by the pirates who even conducted mock executions with him as the victim. He never got any pen or paper during his captivity in the lifeboat and never tried to write a farewell note to his family. He didn't ask to go outside to urinate before attempting his escape. He saw from his seat one of the pirates urinating outside and used that opportunity to jump the lifeboat. His reaction of absolute shock after being rescued by the SEAL team never happened in real life. He was hit by what happened only after he tried to go to sleep for the first time after being rescued.

Here are links to some articles I found interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maersk_Alabama_hijacking

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/10/11/captain_phillips_true_story_fact_and_fiction_in_tom_hanks_and_paul_greengrass.html

http://nypost.com/2013/10/13/crew-members-deny-captain-phillips-heroism/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/11/captain-phillips-real-story_n_4084669.html

If you read these articles, then you'll see that a disagreement exists regarding the Navy SEALs. They are supposed to have killed the three pirates still on the lifeboat with three simultaneous shots. Some claim far more shots were fired. The movie and many points in the articles disagree -- sometimes the articles disagree with one another. I don't even know if The Huffington Post and The New York Post and Wikipedia are reliable sources. How does one ever learn the truth? Maybe it will never be known. The truth disappears, just as the $30,000 did that Phillips gave to the pirates from the ship's safe.

I'm not trying to ruin the movie for you. I think it's a great movie, BUT IT'S A MOVIE. It's not reality. I hope you can enjoy it for what it is.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

6 comments:

  1. I haven't seen the movie, but I love Tom Hanks, so I know I'll watch it at some point. And anything that comes out of Hollywood is BS...I just watch for the entertainment factor.

    -andi

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Janie .. I enjoyed the film - but all films are stories ... and this one I treated as a story ... I did enjoy it though ..

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whenever I see as movie that shows the words, "Based on a true story" I expect that it's fiction. I hesitated to see this movie but Tom Hanks is such an incredible actor that I'd watch him even if, in this case, the facts were twisted.

    ReplyDelete

Got your panties in a bunch? Dig 'em out, get comfortable, and let's chat.