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Review - Sully

By midlandsmovies, Dec 4 2016 09:25PM

Sully (2016) Dir. Clint Eastwood


After recently reviewing Snowden, the current trend of turning VERY recent events into big budget biographical films seems to be the rage in 2016 with the “Hero of the Hudson” being analysed in this new movie from Clint Eastwood.


If you didn’t know already, Tom Hanks plays airline pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger who in 2009 steered an out of control airline into the Hudson river in New York which resulted in all 155 passengers surviving with just minor injuries.


The film follows this exciting tale and the subsequent air crash investigation and Hanks gives a great performance as a skilled, intelligent and measured man who never once seems to consider himself a hero in the conventional sense. Harrowing fantasy scenes of Sully’s PTSD are recreated in nightmares as we are shown CGI-heavy shots of the plane taking a different path and crashing into New York’s high rise buildings. Echoing previous events in the city’s troubled history these images served to shock but at the same time clarifies to the audience the expertise of the pilot in guiding the plane out of harm’s way.


As the investigations continue to doubt Sully’s version of events, Eastwood takes the viewer on a heavy handed flight which despite his best attempts at creating drama only had one conclusion it was going to end with. A schmaltzy finale where the investigators say their findings have been wrong is followed by footage of the real crash as a montage of the survivors greet each other at a reunion which was the worst kind of syrupy gloop – and felt more part of a TV special than cinematic experience.


With the final act showing Sully’s assertion that the plane was downed by a bird strike, Hanks continues his understated performance with aplomb with great support from Aaron Eckhart as co-pilot Jeffrey "Jeff" Skiles (who is nearly upstaged by his own ridiculous moustache).


Eastwood’s movie is pretty average on the whole and whilst he tries to extract drama from the investigator’s interviews with Sully and Skiles, it doesn’t quite work given that it was certainly clear from the outset this man was always going to be considered a hero no matter the why or how given the fact all survived.


With huge echoes of Robert Zemeckis’ fictional film “Flight”, Hanks is admittedly great but hasn’t got too much to work with and although I’ve enjoyed Eastwood’s simplicity in his previous works, I felt that aside from the tense plane crash scenes, the film’s outcome was pretty pre-determined. The need for additional drama was not attention grabbing enough and couldn’t overcome the inevitability of the well-known story. Therefore, Sully modestly sets the audience back down on a safe narrative landing in which you already know the conclusion.


6.5/10


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