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Sully

Sully: Tom Hanks Shines in Remarkable True Story

  • Aaron EckhartLaura Linney...
  • 3DAction & Adventure...
  • Clint Eastwood
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Sully: Tom Hanks Shines in Remarkable True Story

On January 15th 2009, Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles took off US Airways flight 1549 from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to make a routine trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Little did they know, however, that the world would remember as the day when the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ took place. Three minutes into the doomed flight, a flock of birds strikes the plane, forcing pilots Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles to safely glide the plane to ditch in the Hudson River, phenomenally saving all one hundred and fifty five lives on board.

Based on the autobiography titled Highest Duty by Captain Sally himself and author Jeffrey Zaslow, the story begins immediately after the incident, with both Sully (Hanks) and Jeff (Eckhart) finding themselves in the media spotlight and over-flooded with public attention, continuously praised for their skills and bravery. The story then takes us ‘backstage’ to where they are taken on by the National Transportation Safety Board who soon begins its investigation into what happened and if landing the plane on the Hudson was really their only choice. Plagued by worry and doubts, Sully is soon taken on an emotional ride where he is left wondering whether he made the right decision or unnecessarily endangered the lives of everyone on board.

Many will be surprised to learn that most of Sully is told through a series of flashbacks and that the central narrative lies with the aftermath of the incident – as oppose to a minute-by-minute account of the day – and the investigation as to what has caused the crash. Whilst Eastwood does manage to depict the anxiety and panic inside both the plane and the cockpit, he struggles to keep the story out of a loop of repetitiveness and though the film tries to analyse the mental wellbeing of its main character, it never really succeeds, because the idea that he was in the wrong is never particularly convincing. 

However, the movie’s more silent moments, the ones where the viewers get a chance to spend a bit of alone time with the Captain, who struggles with the shock of it all but maintains confidence and poise throughout the proceedings, is where Sully shines the most. Hanks brings charm and modesty to the role, while as his First Officer, Eckhart proves to be the right choice with the two sharing an easy chemistry, though most of the other characters, including Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, don’t get much character development.

All in all, Sully is a decent and satisfying tribute to an unexpected hero and a miraculous story which still has the world talking. However, it’s not all smooth sailing; whilst the movie’s energy is right, it lacks the necessary depth to turn it from a good film to a great one.

Like This? Try

Flight (2012), United 93 (2006), The 33 (2015)

360 Tip

Clocking in at 96 minutes, this is the shortest film Clint Eastwood ever directed.

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