Tom Hanks wears white makeup on his hair and even his mustache (for some reason) to take the part of real life airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who made a critical decision by crash-landing a plane in the Hudson River – where a reported 155 people, including Sullenberger survived on January 15, 2009. It is a very miraculous story and feels like a sign of God, but what was the result of the aftermath and what went on in the mind of this man a day after?
Only Clint Eastwood and his crew of filmmakers can bring to life the answer to that question; even though it feels like Robert Zemeckis helmed this picture with its lighting, cinematography, and makeup. This just doesn’t feel like Eastwood. I am going to say that Mr. Eastwood is a master of his craft with films like ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘American Sniper’ to name a couple in his directing resume. This time, he tackles the subject which makes for a near great biopic; what are the thoughts of a man who took on this miraculous, yet traumatic disaster? The film does a good job of asking that question and making us sympathize with our hero.
‘Sully’ feels like a condensed version of what could be a 2-hour biopic, (which I hope there’s an extended version of this film when it hits the shelves.) but with what happened on that day in 2009 when it was the talk of every news report, it doesn’t need an overlong bore of a guy moping about what he did, or could have done differently. This doesn’t need to be as long as Michael Bay’s ‘Pearl Harbor’, or James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’. What it does with its short running time is good enough for its subject. It does tend to give us a couple of flashbacks of Sullenberger’s past as a practicing pilot, but it is told with inconsistency, as much as it shows the events of what did happen on that day.
Despite an unconventional narrative, ‘Sully’ tells us all we need to know, and is backed up by tense and quiet performances by Hanks and company. Everyone who was in this movie did a great job, whether it be the crew, the people who helped, or the passengers themselves; it seems that everyone has a place and it is used to Oscar-worthy potential. Aaron Eckhart gives a restrained performance as Sully’s first officer Jeff Skiles; (laughable mustache and all.) while Laura Linney gives a worried performance as Sully’s caring wife Lorraine. As for Clint Eastwood, he has made another good movie that is also tense and engaging. I know for a fact that he is a great director and will be remembered for his work long after he’s gone.