Fads are common when it comes to Hollywood today, and recently the newest trend is non fiction. It might be because the story is already written, and is cheaper to make or maybe because the stories are so astonishing that it’s difficult to believe.. regardless more and more of them are being made.
In the last two years alone a whopping 46 have being released (29 in 2015 and another 17 this year) Over the coming weeks films like “Snowden” and “Deepwater Horizon” will be released and no doubt will be grabbing an audiences’ attention.
However, being released this week is “Sully” (2 and a 1/2 stars out of 4) starring Tom Hanks as Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger, the man responsible for one of the most heroic and inspirational stories in recent memory. His story is more commonly referred to as “The Miracle on the Hudson”.
It began moments after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009 on US Airways Flight 1549 when a flock of geese hit the plane’s engines rendering them useless. At that point he and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) decided to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Everyone onboard miraculously survived and the public hailed him as a hero.
The screenplay was written by Todd Komarnicki and is based on the book “Highest Duty” written by Sullenberger himself. This is the second time Clint Eastwood has directed non fiction. His first was the 2014 masterpiece “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.
The film begins with Sullenberger (Hanks) waking up from a nightmare abut the event trying to catch his breath. The next day he along with Skiles (Eckhart) attend a meeting with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to go over the event in question. They are the real “villains” here if you want to call them that.
That evening, Sully calls his wife Lorraine (Laura Linney), and talks to her about the day. He begins to question himself and his actions, but she is his calming influence.
Meanwhile, Lorraine is having to deal with all of the media scrutiny and reporters on the front lawn. After not being able to sleep he goes jogging with Skiles to discuss his continued stress. There is certainly some memorable dialogue, for example “I’ve delivered over a million passengers over 40 years, but I’m going to be judged over 208 seconds”
As the movie progresses Sully is informed that based on several different simulations of the accident, one of the engines MAY have been idle during the catastrophe, which could have totally changed the outcome of the event.
Throughout the movie, there are several scenes when it’s clear he is suffering from PTSD. Sully is “zoning out” or seeing visions. To clear his head, he goes out jogging at night and sees an aircraft carrier which has some fighter planes on it, and that triggers another flashback. He’s able to land a plane that was partially failing.
Sully calls his rep and wants to see his the simulations run as live. So, as the movie winds down both Skiles and Sully are dragged in front of the NTSB and FAA for the final BIG meeting and Tom Hanks shows his acting chops and why he is a two time Oscar winner. His acting at the climax was superb.
The actual plash crash sequence was very well shot and well done. The movie only was 95 minutes and I was curious to see how they were going to fill time.. and they did by having a few passengers stories to go along with the flight, along with other things.
There is plenty of “American Sniper” in “Sully and it’s by design. Both films use the credits to pay tribute to both Chris Kyle who meets a tragic end as well as a real life montage of the aftermath of the plane and fortunate passengers.
I think for me having Hanks and Eckhart resemble their characters was a MAJOR plus.. It definitely brought more authenticity to it.
If you are looking for a good quality film to see this weekend, then this is for you. Don’t be shocked to hear Tom Hanks get his named again early in 2017 for ANOTHER Oscar nomination.