Planes in emergency situations heighten my senses. So you may have already heard the story of Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks). He’s the hero pilot that somehow managed to land a plane on the Hudson River without any fatalities after losing both engines when a flock of birds flew into the plane. What you probably didn’t hear about was the storm of repercussions that came afterward when the plane company was trying to determine who was liable from an insurance standpoint. While I am not afraid of flying, I do have a personal button when it comes to plane crashes; when I see them on screen, they get my pulse up, I will grip my armrest, and I will likely perspire a bit. When I heard they were making a movie about what is essentially the real-life life version of the movie Flight, I knew I had to check it out, and it did not disappoint.
I’m not even afraid to travel via plane, crashes just get a palpable reaction out of me.
Tom Hanks is perfectly fit for this type of movie; he saved the day in Captain Phillips, and he plays the leadership role so well that I would probably put my fate in his hands in a life or death situation. He turns in terrific work here, and it really is a character study of Sullenberger, so it is his movie to sell. Sully as a person is pretty tormented, and you can very much see that the decision he made has weighed heavily on his shoulders; even though everybody survived, it could have gone south just as quickly, and the simple fact that his actions are being questioned takes a massive toll on his psyche. It is Tom Hanks’ movie, but honestly, if it was anybody else in this role short of Daniel Day-Lewis, everybody would be talking about how amazing Aaron Eckhart is in this. In my opinion, he is just as good as Hanks, and combined they sell this like nobody’s business.
Both can carry a movie on their own (you’d be foolish to think otherwise), so when they get a script where they can play off of each other, they’re going to create something special.
Clint Eastwood as a director is kind of hit or miss for me; he has some duds to be sure like Invictus or J. Edgar, but when he is on, he is on, and I personally feel that this is his best movie since Gran Torino. My complaints about this are sparse, and the only notable thing I can think of is the lack of material for Sully’s wife. Laura Linney is a terrific actress, and she is fine here, but the only thing she is given to do in this is to voice concern on a land line and that is it. Sully is well made, and you hold your breath every time the man had a PTSD flashback. I think it’s very worthwhile, and at a very short 90 minutes, I think you should go out of your way to see this on the home market if you missed it in theaters.
Sully (2016) ****
– Critic for Hire