2016-09-09 09:39

What it’s about:

The true story of US Airlines pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who became a public hero after crash landing his plane in the Hudson River in New York on 15 January  2009, saving the lives of all 155 crew and passengers.

What we thought:

Legendary actor Tom Hanks finds himself yet again in a tight situation with a faulty plane, at least this time he ends up in the Hudson River in New York and not as a cast away on a deserted island. Hanks who plays the lead role as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, or Sully, as he is referred to in the film, does yet another outstanding job as actor, but the film itself is quite a difficult one to plot with both a lot of strengths and weaknesses as it looks at the happenings of 15 January 2009.

By now we can all agree upon the fact that director Clint Eastwood loves stories about American heroes, and this is yet another one. A real true-life drama with a few well crafted thriller elements to it. Captain Sully became a hero when he force landed US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River with 155 people on board, all of which survived. But while the media proclaimed him as a modern day hero, an investigation into his decision to crash land the plane into the river rather than heading back to the runway, threatened to ruin his career.

The film mostly focuses on the days that follow the incident and the investigation, rather than the plane crash itself. This said, the viewer won’t miss out on the heart-racing re-enactment of the crash and the events that followed after a flock of birds took out both of the plane’s engines shortly after take off (possibly the most exciting part of the film). Except for brief flashbacks of Sully’s career we are left with little insight into the pilot. At some stage we get hints of other personal problems in his life, now reactivated by the crash, but then never really go into them and soon they are forgotten. A very straightforward film by Eastwood with a bit of a blunt ending. 

Hanks does a great job at portraying Sullenberger, but to a point the viewer almost gets the sense that he is too melancholic and aloof with how little tension there actually appears to be in his personal life. At some point I started wondering how much of this character actually was Sullenberger and how much is Hanks. Except for the thrilling actual crash scene, the majority of the film relies on Hanks to keep the viewer’s attention, even with his brief interactions with his co-pilot played by Aaron Eckhart. The crash also tends to lean a bit towards the stereotypical and cliché – The single mom with a baby, the old lady and heart-warming father and sons who almost missed the flight.

Unfortunately, besides this scene and the final hearing of the investigation, there isn’t really anything more to the film. Nonetheless, if you’re planning a trip to the cinemas and looking for a good drama instead of another slapstick comedy or super hero movie, Sully is the film to watch. 

Read more on:    tom hanks  |  aaron eckhart  |  movies  |  sully

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