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Because Tom Hanks plays Phillips, the Everyman vibe is here from the get-go. We first see him leaving his Vermont home to catch a flight to the Middle East. Once aboard his ship, all too aware of the piracy dangers he faces, he issues crisp orders to reinforce security. When the cargo ship is chased down by pirates, he’s prepared – and aghast. Hanks has always been good at playing average Joes, but what must have attracted him to this part was the chance to play an average Joe in mortal danger. As Phillips, he keeps a very tight hold on his temper. He knows he stands a better chance of surviving that way. When, near the end, he is rescued in a state of shock, all that normality breaks down and a real rawness comes through. It’s some of the most powerful acting Hanks has ever done.

 

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