What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Captain Phillips is an intense drama based on the true story of an American cargo ship that's hijacked by Somali pirates. Director Paul Greengrass (United 93, the Bourne films) is known for his visceral depictions of action-packed violence, and Captain Phillips is a real nailbiter with extended scenes of suspense, menace, and violence. There is lots of blood, but just a few casualties -- none of them civilians -- but the camerawork makes the danger -- usually death threats facing a machine gun -- feel personal. Language includes a few uses of "s--t"; the Somalis often chew khat, a plant that's a stimulant; and characters smoke cigarettes as well.
  • Families can talk about the movie's use of violence. Is the violence necessary to depict the true story? Could it have been less violent and still evoked the same intensity?
  • How does the filmmaker's use of camerawork and editing emphasize the sense of danger and violence?
  • What is the movie's message about the Somali pirates? Are they depicted purely as villains or as more complicated characters? Why do you think they do what they do?
POSITIVE MESSAGES
POSITIVE ROLE MODELS
VIOLENCE & SCARINESS
LANGUAGE
CONSUMERISM
DRINKING & DRUGS
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