Two true-life tales of survival lead this weekend's best films.
"Captain Phillips" is a riveting thriller, with geopolitical overtones. Tom Hanks plays the title character, Capt. Richard Phillips, who was at the helm of his cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, when it was overtaken by Somali pirates in 2009. Director Paul Greengrass ("United 93") employs an intense documentary-style focus on the events aboard the ship, and on the Somalis in their desperation to bring in a big score. Hanks is outstanding in an understated, everyman performance.
The documentary "The Summit" chronicles a tragedy on the slopes of K2 in 2008, when 11 climbers died descending from the summit of the Himalayan peak. Director Nick Ryan combines insightful interviews with realistic re-enactments to tell the multi-faceted story of small errors compounding to fatal consequences and the attempted heroism of one climber, Irishman Ger McDonnell, that likely led to his own death.