By Allison McClausland
With September being a solemn month that evokes the tragedy and heroism of everyday citizens since 9/11, it seems fitting that a story embodying those elements is lined up for screening. However, do not let the date fool you, this story is one that is even more recent.
Director Clint Eastwood continues telling heroic yet personally anguishing stories of ordinary Americans with the 2009 plane landing dubbed by the media, “Miracle on the Hudson.” At the core of the film is the pilot of flight 1549, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), and his lingering emotions over the actions he took on Jan. 15, to save the lives of the passengers on board.
While exploring the nature of the engine failure and the state of evacuation the passengers faced, the film intercuts with a postincident Sullenberger as he deals with the media frenzy and subsequent investigation into the flight’s status possibly being prevented from making an emergency landing in the water. Stakes run high as Sullenberger must put his career on the line to prove that there was no other way to ensure the maximum survival of all 155 souls on board.
Hanks gives a thoughtful performance as the pilot turned savior by emphasizing Sullenberger’s humble side, therefore making his distress over being a media celebrity an internal struggle he faces throughout the film. This struggle, along with the eerie revisit of the crash wonderfully created with special and practical effects, will definitely keep audiences interested.
The same cannot be said for the other performances. Although the cast does an effective job of helping highlight Hanks’ performance, the other characters such as co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) and Sully’s loving wife Lorraine Sullenberger (Laura Linney) fail to make themselves stand out. The monotony of their roles, as well as the board of investigators Sullenberger and Skiles must justify the plane’s landing to, do little to help to keep the intensely dramatic tone of the film.
Eastwood’s direction of the story doesn’t necessarily help either. Sometimes a film that is slow and steady can win the race, but “Sully” should not be one of those films. There are segments of the film that drag on and belabor certain points that if the audience did not understand them before, they definitely will not after.
Eastwood also concludes the film rather abruptly, leaving a lingering feeling that something should be happening after the final scene. However, there are title cards, footage and pictures before and during the credits to try and resolve any loose ends moviegoers wanted to know about during the film.
So if you want something short and sweet to see, this is the film for you. Likewise, if you are a fan of Tom Hanks films, this should definitely be on your weekend to-do list or film bucket list. “Sully” is rated PG-13 for sequences with some peril and brief strong language.