Here's what the critics are saying:
"Hostage situations have inspired so many shallow, primitive genre films that it’s eye-opening to see what an inspired filmmaker can achieve with the material. The spellbinding “Captain Phillips” re-creates the 2009 hijacking of an American-crewed freighter off the shore of Somalia. It’s an efficient, fast-paced survival thriller, a gripping character study of men under stress, and an object lesson in the power of spare, realistic storytelling." Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, “Captain Phillips” is a film worth debating." Joe Williams, St. Louis Post Dispatch
But in a season of movies crammed with impossible suspense - Gravity, the forthcoming All Is Lost, Captain Phillips is, likewise, more than just an excuse to get our hearts pumping, our guts churning in collective dread. This is a story about human beings put to the test - facing profound challenges, and their own fears, doubts, inadequacies. We watch these films and wonder about ourselves, about who we are, why we are here, what we would do." Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Few directors do guys-in-distress better than Paul Greengrass. From the man-on-the-run kineticism of the The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Supremacy to the doomed heroics ofUnited 93, the British director seems fascinated by men driven to the brink." Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star Telegram
"Mr. Hanks is one of the few movie stars who, like Gary Cooper once upon a Hollywood time, can convey a sense of old-fashioned American decency just by standing in the frame. There’s something so unforced about him that it can seem as if he’s not delivering a performance, just being Tom Hanks. This feeling of authenticity, however well honed and movie made, dovetails with Phillips’s gruff likability to create a portrait of a man trying to keep himself, his crew and his ship together even as the world he knew comes violently undone." Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Captain Phillips" is a portrait of first-world power and third-world poverty with Tom Hanks piloting the ship of state. Here you just thought it was a thriller. However, everything about this story of modern-day piracy on the high seas screams political allegory except the film itself....The result is a jarringly intimate simulation of how we interact with the world on a personal level." Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Captain Phillips" is 194 minutes and is rated PG-13.