Eastwood’s latest film tackles the true events of the Miracle on the Hudson
By Colin Macgillivray, Contributor
Clint Eastwood’s latest film Sully, stars Tom Hanks and while it certainly has a few patches of turbulence along the way, it ultimately nails its depiction of the 2009 Miracle on the Hudson. Eastwood’s direction and Hanks’ acting help guide the audience along the emergency water landing made by US Airways Flight 1549 which allows all 155 passengers and crew to survive.
It seems like a cliché to say Tom Hanks was good in a movie. With his incredible track record of nailing the all-American hero, it’s no surprise that Hanks once again delivers with an incredibly compelling, yet subdued, performance as the titular character. The soft spoken, level-headed Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger, does not seem like the typical big budget, Hollywood protagonist, yet Hanks brings a surprising amount of depth to the veteran pilot, and the struggles he faced in the aftermath of the miraculous landing.
Aaron Eckhart also shines as his wise-guy, co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles. With just enough banter and witty quips, Eckhart never lets you forget that he is there, but also never lets you forget that this is Hanks’ movie.
Director Clint Eastwood, too, delivers. Many of his films tend to have a problem with pacing and length, leading to them sluggishly trudging through their inflated run times. It seems that the 86-year-old has learned from some of his past mistakes, as “Sully” never drags, and clocks in at 96 minutes, the shortest of all Eastwood films. The hour and a half run time allows Eastwood to tell his story of a hard working American doing his job and overcoming insurmountable odds, and he does so in a clear and concise way. By not presenting the narrative in chronological order, Eastwood is able to add another layer of tension to a story that most of us already knew the ending to.
Unfortunately, the film does have it’s faults. The casting of Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger, Sully’s wife, is a waste of the talented actress. Her scenes are reduced to teary eyed phone calls with Hanks, and they seem to be present in the movie just to remind us that Sully has a wife and kids.
The biggest problem in the film is the character development, or should I say, lack thereof. It seems as if Eastwood had forgotten that there were more characters than Sully and his co-pilot, and shoved them all in last minute. Almost none of the passenger’s on the plane are given any backstory, and in the end, they are all reduced to just a number; 155.
So the question: is “Sully” a great drama? No, but it is good. There is a surprising amount of conflict created by Sully’s interactions with the dastardly National Transportation Safety Board that engage the audience throughout, and even has you questioning whether this story really had a happy ending or not.
Overall, Sully is a solid movie. Lead by two excellent performances by Hanks and Eckhart, the dramatic retelling of the Miracle on Hudson was a pleasure to watch.