"Hanks is the perfect choice for a likeable hero every time. Sully’s story is incredible and shocking, and the flight recreation was riveting"
Most people would have heard about the Hudson River plane landing in 2009, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles successfully pulled off a forced water landing after a bird strike and saved all 155 people on board. The aftermath, however, was not as widely reported – but now, thanks to Clint Eastwood’s Sully, more of us will know what went down afterwards.
Sully (Tom Hanks) and Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) are flying a plane from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Charlotte, North Carolina. Within minutes of take off they are hit by a series of birds and both engines fail. They soon realise they won’t make it back to LaGuardia so Sully chooses to land in the Hudson. The passengers are forced onto rafts and the wings in the freezing January temperatures while local boats rush to help.
Both were considered heroes by the public and press for their miraculous piloting but they weren’t exactly treated like that by executives of the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) – lead by Glee’s Mike O’Malley and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn – who basically interrogate them about their decision-making and procedures and essentially trying to pin the blame on them by insinuating they were negligent. It doesn’t look good either – simulations and tests apparently show the plane could have made it back to a runway – but Sully is confident he was right.
People expecting an air disaster-type movie will be seriously disappointed because this consists of a lot of talking in investigation rooms. It is dense and dialogue-heavy and it’s no surprise really because the actual flight drama happened in about five minutes so that would be a short movie. Plus, their treatment afterwards had to be told because it is so shocking and unbelievable. It’s understandable the NTSB needed a full report about what happened but trying to make him culpable when nobody died is insane.
Luckily, these scenes are interspersed with the recreation of the flight, the evacuation onto the water and the rescue plus scenes of Sully chatting to his wife Lorraine (Laura Linney) on the phone. The editing is actually all over the place with us toing and froing between timelines and Sully’s visions and reality. This helps make it more exciting though as it could have become rather bland and I’m glad they saved the juicier in-flight footage until nearer the end.
Hanks is the perfect choice for a likeable hero every time so he gets away with not looking much like the real Sully. You are behind him all the way. Sully’s story is incredible, his treatment afterwards was shocking and the flight recreation was riveting. Highly recommend.