A Tom Hanks movie is generally a safe bet for having an entertaining time at the cinema, he’s been in so many classics that speak for themselves. However, recently Hanks choices in roles haven’t been in such good films. His most recent two, ‘A Hologram for the King’ & ‘Inferno’, whilst not un-entertaining, didn’t exactly have the Hanks magic that usually accompanies his performances. Maybe, ‘Sully’, the true story about pilot Chesley Sullenberger emergency landing a US Airways plane on the Hudson river could restore Hank’s choice in roles? With Clint Eastwood directing it had every chance to.
The film begins with a barrage of dream sequences and visions which immediately set alarm bells ringing in my head as I thought that these must be in place to compensate for what was obviously a lacking narrative. Furthermore, one scene takes us back in time where we see a younger Sully flying, it was here that I worried we would then get dual narratives running parallel throughout the film. As well as this, I found the initial scenes of investigation into the incident to contain quite a lot of technical terminology which slightly alienated me as an audience member, especially considering the rest of the movie felt so disjointed up to this point. Much to my relief the terminology became clear, we didn’t get a dual narrative and the visions cease after the first half an hour. The final hour of the film is much better and becomes rather gripping. The turning point is when we get to see the actual flight sequence and the immediate aftermath. These sequences are thrilling and managed to completely draw me back into the film which was rapidly getting away from me. Another massive strength to the story telling here was the the overall length of the film, at just over 90 mins director Eastwood keeps things moving along nicely and doesn’t keep audiences in their seats any longer than he needed to, a refreshing move in a culture of extortionate running times , especially with those films marked for awards buzz.
Tom Hanks plays the lead role of pilot Sullenberger here with a striking resemblance to the real life man. Like there is ever any need to doubt the quality of performance Hanks will deliver, he of course commands this film with confidence and experience. The reputation he has built over the years in Hollywood only help him here create the likeability of his character and despite the short run time he showcases his wide range as an actor. His on screen co-pilot is played by Aaron Eckhart, currently on top form after appearing in ‘Bleed For This’, which is also out this week. The pair have a very believable chemistry and especially during the investigation stages of the movie there are many admirable qualities shown in the men they are portraying thanks to the actors performances. The drama of the incident is wonderfully brought to life by these actors but the film isn’t only a drama as it also contains the sequences of the flight and emergency landing. These obviously had to be recreated using special effects. The tendency with films like this which focus more on dramatic elements than action is to skim over moments like this in the story but here real attention and care is devoted to them and the results show just how worth it this is. With clean and crisp CGI employed the scenes of the emergency landing can be included with confidence easily adding quality to the picture as a whole.
So despite some turbulence in the opening act of the movie, ‘Sully’ manages to settle itself and in the process becomes a very engaging biographical drama. The performances from Hanks and Eckhart are very good and what more the chemistry is invaluable. With quality special effects and a no nonsense approach from the director when ‘Sully’ gets going it flies by in the most positive way. A step back in the right direction for Hanks and surely a film we will hear more about come awards season.
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: What is your favourite of Clint Eastwood’s directorial efforts?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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