Saturday, September 17, 2016


Year: 2016
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney

Plot: Based on the true story of Chesley Sullenberger, a pilot who landed US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson river on January 15th 2009, saving all 155 passengers on board. This incident came to be known as the 'Miracle on the Hudson'.

Review: At 96 minutes, Sully is officially Clint Eastwood's shortest film ever, and possibly the least ambitious of all the true stories/biographies he's done. Yet it is still an effective film.

Sully is based on the true story of how Chesley Sullenberger aka Sully, guided his airplane to a safe landing on the Hudson river after a flock of birds flew into its engines. Despite being hailed a hero by the media and his passengers, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has a different view, claiming that Sully's actions were somewhat dangerous, and that he still had time to land the plane at two nearby airports, something both Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles disagree on.

Eastwood's film focuses mostly on the events that took place after the incident, i.e. the NTSB's investigation, media reaction and how Sully and Skiles deal with all the attention showered on them, something they were not prepared for or even want. In essence, Sully and Skiles are just two regular guys who were a part of a miraculous event, and simply want to get back to their regular lives once the NTSB wraps up their inquiry. For dramatic effect, the NTSB are portrayed here as the semi-antagonists, looking for evidence to pin the blame on Sully, and obviously being more interested in the fact that the plane crashed and not on Sully successfully saving his crew and passengers. This created some real controversy when the NTSB saw the film, saying they were wrongly portrayed, but we'll never really know how far.

Tom Hanks puts in a subtle performance as Sully, a man who doesn't consider himself a hero, and actually starts to doubt his own judgment on that fateful day. Hanks' restrained performance works well here. Aaron Eckhart also shines as Skiles, being one of the few people who understands and supports Sully's actions that day. Laura Linney is alright as Sully's supportive wife, but the film mostly belongs to Hanks and his struggle against his new found fame.

The film does suffer from continuity issues, as Eastwood chooses to begin his story after the crash, then throw in flashbacks, including a couple where a young Sully had flown other planes such as a jet fighter and a biplane. I personally felt a chronological approach would have been better.

The simplicity of the film means there's not much to look at here than your average Eastwood feature, but Sully is still very watchable. Worth checking out. (7/10)  

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