HOLLYWOOD doesn’t do subtle. Neither do Somali pirates.
So when you go to watch Captain Phillips you may be surprised that while there is no doubt who the good guys and the bad guys are, there is room for a little realism. Not all Somali pirates are there because they want to be. That’s no comfort when you are a seafarer looking down the barrel of a shaking rifle held by a skinny teenager who is as scared as you are. But if you understand a problem you can solve it. This film shows quite well why military intervention alone will never stop Somali piracy.
US viewers will welcome Captain Phillips as a simple triumph of US military power over the nasties who attack their people. Seafarers will welcome the film because it shows a little of their lives, which is not something that makes Hollywood too often. The scene with the free fall lifeboat has certainly never been done on the big screen before.
But there is more in there. You can see why Abdi does what he does. There is no sympathy for him, but you can see what drives Somali youths to risk their lives and attack ships. Perhaps if more people understand that we will find a better way to solve the problem and keep our seafarers safe.
Read The Reluctant Pirate if you want a thriller that takes you behind the scenes of modern piracy. It’s not Hollywood, yet, but it is very real.