By Michael Kaye
Welcome to the official kick-off of the Fall movie season, a.k.a., "Awards Season." It seems like we're off to a good start with today's film, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Dirty Harry himself, Clint Eastwood. Now before you come at me with torches and pitchforks, let me make this crystal clear: I'm NOT here to discuss Eastwood's politics, make fun of him talking to a chair at the RNC, or even mention his blurb from Esquire magazine, as none of that is relevant to the events of the film. So without further ado, this is my review for Sully.
Here's the story, based on true events. On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.
If you've been disappointed by Eastwood's last couple of movies, then I've got good news for you: this movie is wonderful. While I was more positive about American Sniper than most people, I can say with confidence that this is his best film so far this decade. Here are my positives and negatives.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, you know I have to talk about the cast. Does a bad Tom Hanks performance even exist? And no, I'm not talking about bad movies, he's done plenty of those. What's great about seeing him on screen in any movie, but especially this one, is just how great he is at getting lost in the character, even though you're well aware you're watching Tom Hanks. But the only one here who's as good, if not just a tiny bit better than Hanks is the criminally underrated Aaron Eckart as Jeff Skiles. Between this movie and Bleed For This, I really hope people finally stop sleeping on Eckart and he's ready to ascend to A-list status, because this honestly should have happened ages ago. These were definitely the best performances in the film, but some of the other great ones include Laura Linney as Sully's wife Lorraine, Mike O'Malley as one of the investigators Charles Porter, Anna Gunn as Dr. Elizabeth Davis, and all 155 passengers who survived the crash.
Clint Eastwood is a fantastic director, but in case you forgot that over the last couple years, this movie will jog your memory. Honestly, when I first heard that this was going to be his next film, I thought it was almost as impossible as Captain Sullenberger himself pulling off that landing. But then when you watch the movie, things begin to make more sense. Much like Titanic to a degree, it's not just about the "Miracle on the Hudson," but rather it's about the people involved. That being said, it's unfortunate that I didn't get to see this movie in IMAX, because whether it's the real life 208 seconds or Sully's dreams or what could have gone wrong, the plane sequences are awesome! It's easy to forget that Eastwood does have plenty of action movie experience, starring in both the Dollars Trilogy and the Dirty Harry franchise.
The last pure positive I have is for the music, composed by Christian Jacob with the Tierney Sutton Band. It's a very quiet, subtle score, but it's totally appropriate for this kind of story. This is also just another example of a Clint Eastwood movie with amazing sound design, especially during those flight sequences.
Now, here's the wishy-washy part of the review, where I have to talk about the story itself. I like that this story is being told, and I like the overall message. This is gonna sound weird, but I kinda feel like this should have been the main plot of Batman V Superman, where Clark Kent is going through a similar prosecution for saving Metropolis, while being scrutinized for the destruction. That whole subplot in Africa, while much better in the Ultimate Edition, distracted from what could have been an amazing Man of Steel sequel, but I digress. Back to Sully, I like how much attention was given to the passengers, one of them just so happens to be Turtle from Entourage. They were every bit as important as the flight crew when it came to landing the plane.
As far as the problems I have with the story, there are only two that come to mind. One of them is the arbitrary "villains" being the National Transportation Safety Board. I get that it's a movie and you have to take some liberties, but you could have handled this a little bit better. The other problem I had was the ending. Sometimes when people say a movie ends abruptly, I feel like they're exaggerating when they say that. Not this time, as everything just stops right as Sully's hearing is coming to a close. I wish I could have seen maybe 5 more minutes of the movie, even if it's something sappy like Sully coming home to his family. That's not too much to ask for, is it?
Sully is a great film, and what a way to kick off Awards Season. Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckart are a shoe in for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations, unless 5 performances in each category just happen to be better. Guys, don't wait to catch this one on VOD, you're going to want to see this one on the big screen, IMAX if it's available.
Alright, you guys now have the floor. Have you seen Sully, and if so what did you think? Also, what are some of your favorite Clint Eastwood movies, particularly the ones he directed? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned as always for more awesome content coming your way!