Tom Hanks starring in a movie about a recent American Hero, with Clint Eastwood at the helm, should be a shoe-in for some Oscar buzz. Eastwood made his name in movies playing silent heroes, men who got the job done efficiently and without the need for recognition, and he has followed this by directing movies about the same such characters.
Captain Chesney ‘Sully’ Sullenberger was the pilot who was forced to crash land a flight onto the Hudson River that was carrying 155 people back in 2009. The event, dubbed ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’ was a media sensation and made Sully an American hero overnight. Sully, though, just sees himself as a man doing his job and the media storm, and subsequent investigations into the event by flight committees is what drives the narrative along.
Similar to last year’s Steven Spielberg directed Bridge of Spies, Sully is a no thrills kind of movie, it puts faith in it’s story and it tells it efficiently. It is a celebration of ones man’s heroism in the face of overwhelming odds. A film about a great piece of professionalism delivered by two of the best professionals in the business today. The central set piece however is rather extraordinary. Intercut through-out the movie we see the events of the Miracle on the Houston taking place from the cockpit. Eastwood handles these scenes impeccably and they are easily the movie’s superior moments. The use of flight simulations in the movie’s closing act is also a great decision, adding tension to what could have been an otherwise tiresome bureaucratic procedure.
Supporting Hanks is Aaron Eckhart, who gives one of his best performances for a few years here. He and Hanks are both on top of their game during the movie’s climatic court hearing, recounting the events and the decisions they were forced to make. Unfortunately, aside from the leading pair, every other character feels fairly non-consequential, Laura Linney, cast as Sully’s wife feels like nothing more than a part of the furniture for the duration of the movie.
Sully may not be up there with Hanks’ and Eastwood’s classics but it’s an efficient and brisk 96 minutes that, like Sully himself, simply does the job that is asked of it.