Hot Take: It’s as if Captain Chesley Sullenberger landed that plane in the Hudson just so Tom Hanks would have the perfect role to play.
Every once in a while Tom Hanks makes a mistake when choosing a role to play. It’s rare. It happened earlier this year with A Hologram for the King. Even in that case, it was a minor misstep as Hanks was okay in the role but the movie itself was somewhat of a disappointment. When it comes to Sully, though, and Hanks’ role as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot whose quick decision making saved 155 people on board US Airways Flight 1549 when he pulled off an impossible forced water landing in the middle of the Hudson, Hanks made a great decision. As did director Clint Eastwood in choosing to make a story well worth being told.
What’s most impressive about Sully is how understated the film is. Between the tense recreation of the forced water landing and some portrayals of “Sully” experiencing PTSD-induced nightmares, there is an incredibly relaxed feel to the film. With a run time of just 96 minutes, this gives the movie an incredibly breezy feel. It’s an unabashed appreciation of the man who led the crew that successfully avoided disaster when a flock of Canada geese disabled both engines when the flock flew into the plane’s engines during take-off.
The movie also shows an appreciation for everyone involved in the rescue efforts right down to casting Captain Vince Lombardi as himself. Lombardi was the captain of one of the first ferry boats to respond when it was realized there was an airplane in the Hudson River. There’s also a silent appreciation of the tension a plane misplaced in the New York City airspace can do to the citizens of New York City post-9/11. It’s a great tribute to an inspiring story.
In all of this, there’s a spectacular recreation of the incident that is visually stunning, gripping and it puts you right there with the passengers and crew. Even though you know the outcome, it still delivers an emotionally-charged ending and will likely lead some audiences to applaud in conclusion.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Hanks the Everyman
It can’t be stressed enough how fitting this role is for Hanks. His persona combined with the way Eastwood wanted to portray “Sully” make for excellent viewing.
- The Water Landing
It’s really spectacular to watch and looks and feels authentic when compared to historical accounts. There’s just enough Hollywood in the movie to raise the stakes but not when it comes to the crash itself which is incredible without the aid of Hollywood.
- The Supporting Cast
As with our hero, there are plenty of others responsible for insuring this story is told with the care and precision it deserves. The film has a number of understated, solid performances that complement Hanks as “Sully”.