Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney
Synopsis: The story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became a hero after crash-landing his plane in the water of the Hudson River, saving all of the airplane flights 155 crew and passengers.
Sully is based on the true story of the event that made Chesley Sullenberger an American hero. The event is known today as “The Miracle on the Hudson,” and is an inspiring story of bravery, virtue, and honor. Tom Hanks plays the lead role, and it’s hard to think of anyone who could have done a better job or who was more right for the part than Hanks. He is the most beloved American actor working today and is loved and adored by everyone. When you see Hanks playing this American hero in this film, it just feels right. Hanks does a magnificent job, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. What I liked about his performance is he handled it with subtlety and a calm demeanor. He never overacts and certainly isn’t trying to get that Oscar win with this performance. It is clear he is more focused on portraying the real life person and bringing him to life on the screen. Hanks is an experienced actor, a master of his craft, so I expected nothing more from him. Some of the other supporting performances were fantastic as well. Most notably Aaron Eckhart who plays the co-captain in the film. Eckhart and Hanks had great chemistry together, and some of the best scenes in the film involved those two characters interacting with each other. Eckhart also had some truly hilarious lines that really brought light and joy to the film, which was much-needed. This film was a little bit more dark than I thought it was going to be.
The film is directed by the one and only, Clint Eastwood, and he certainly uses a similar tactic that he did in his previous film, American Sniper. He gives the title character the entire spotlight, and showcases what happened before the big incident, during, and after. It amazes me that at the age of 86, Eastwood is still capable of making giant, well-made films like this. I fully expect Sully to be nominated for multiple Academy Awards. The acting, directing, writing, and visual effects were all really impressive. By far, the best part of the entire film was the crash-landing on the Hudson sequence. The film really lived and died with this sequence, if it wasn’t done right then it would have been a failure. Eastwood directed this sequence very pristinely with expert craftsmanship. I was amazed with how realistic and gritty it was. It did not feel too glamorized, and it was filmed just right, where I felt like I was actually watching the real life event being taken place in front of my eyes. There was no music used, just real life sound effects. The dialogue was fantastic as well. Everything that was coming out of the character’s mouths all felt like something they would have said in real life during that event. This was honestly one of the best sequences I have seen in a film all year.
This film was written by Todd Komarnicki, who adapted his screenplay from the book “Highest Duty.” As I previously mentioned, I was blown away with the dialogue he wrote for this film. It all felt very realistic, and there were some memorable lines being spoken throughout the film. My only problem with it was the story structure. Whether it was his idea or Clint Eastwood’s, it certainly didn’t need to be in the non-linear format that was presented. Throughout the film, we are taken in flashbacks and flash forwards, and the film actually begins after the plane-crash sequence. If it were shown chronologically, I don’t think it would have made much of a different, and might have worked better overall. Also the flashbacks shown of Sully when he was younger weren’t really necessary and did little to add to the film. I also felt like they could have done more to Laura Linney’s character who plays Sully’s wife in the film. Basically she talked to Sully on the phone the entire film, and could have been a more interesting and important character to the film. She still gave a great performance though even with the limited amount of room she was given to act.
Overall, Sully is a feel-good film of an inspiring true-story that offers great acting, dialogue, visual effects but not much else. There is only so much you can do with a story like this, and it was obvious that a lot of the scenes that took place in this film were made-up or enhanced to better benefit the film. With that being said, it is still one of the better films of the year, mostly due to the fanatic acting and memorable scenes that took place involving the real-life “Miracle on the Hudson.” Stories like this deserve to be made into films and exposed to the world, and I’m happy that Captain Sully is getting the recognition and honor he ever so rightfully deserves.
(Since I live in Charlotte, I had the fortune of going to the Aviation Museum where the real-life Flight 1549 airplane is kept! It was incredible to see it in person knowing all the history it has gone through. It’s amazing what Sully did and all he had to go through in such little time to save every passenger on the plane. A true American hero.)