Review: ‘Sully’ Soars High For Tom Hanks And Clint Eastwood
“Sully” unites Eastwood and Hanks for a smooth landing.
Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, “Sully” is based on the actual events that took place when Captain Chesley Sullenberger saved the lives of his passengers landing in New York City’s Hudson river. This film dives deeper into Sully’s life not only depicting this particular event but the aftermath of the situation as well.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 4
I admit that I had a few concerns about this film due to the short lived subject matter of actual events. But while I had my concerns, director Clint Eastwood and lead actor Tom Hanks, turned out to be quite the pair. The film’s plot doesn’t just surround the one infamous plane crash on the Hudson River, it goes far beyond that. Instead of dredging through miles of dialogue that should culminate into one lustrous event, “Sully” follows a piecemeal approach. The story shifts around from the aftermath of the plane landing on the Hudson river, to events leading up to the flight, to Chesley Sullenberger’s childhood, then circles around a few more times. While I would sometimes criticize this type of shift as disjointed or address the lack of plot fluidity, it works very well for “Sully.”
By jumping between past, future, and present “Sully” manages to pique interest in aspects of the main character outside of his courageous feat. His landing on the Hudson was definitely his character’s limelight moment in the film (and real life), but the constant reminder of this coupled with a look into Sully’s daily life made the character development all the more interesting. This sporadic flow of the plot also allowed for the excitement of the flight itself to be lived multiple times throughout the film. If the film would have moved chronologically I think that the anticipation of seeing the plane landing would have taken away from the rest of the film. Fortunately “Sully” allows audiences to get pieces of that moment throughout and explores the internal turmoil of Sully reliving that moment in his head. There are even moments of him imagining how things could have went which may arguably be more exciting than the actual event.
The emotions surrounding the film must be attributed to Tom Hanks’ performance. As always, he finds his way into the characters he plays and “Sully” is no different. There wasn’t much range to the character so I wouldn’t put it in his top performances but he’s still great at what he does nonetheless. Aaron Eckhart is a bit subpar when it comes to being paired against the legendary Tom Hanks, but just like Hanks, his role doesn’t lend itself to being a breakthrough performance. I think the cinematic highlight of this film is Clint Eastwood’s darker style juxtaposed against Hanks’ lovable charisma. Eastwood usually likes to highlight tragedy in his film and Tom Hanks brings about the right amount of smiles to make “Sully” a well balanced film.
Entertainment Value – 4
The cinematic elements of this film also mesh into its entertainment value. The scattered plot worked well in keeping me engaged through both the exciting moments of the flight itself and anticipating the fate of Chesley Sullenberger. I was surprised to see how much entertainment was to be had in just unraveling Sully’s life. Knowing more about this character also led to a more eventful presentation of the landing and rescue on the Hudson.
The blend of CGI and practical elements of this film also shined. I was very impressed with how seamless the CGI integration was throughout the many moments incorporating the event and Sully’s daydreams of what could have gone wrong. While I thought “Sully” would be entirely dependent on recreating the event itself, it managed to entertain on all fronts.
Re-Watchability – 3
There are many elements that make this a great and entertaining film. But while the entertainment and quality are both high, I don’t think “Sully” will be a go to film for repeat viewings. It’s a shorter film which may give it an edge in many scenarios for “re-watchability” but I don’t think it will stand the test of time when it comes to being a favorite in your collection.
- Entertainment Value
"Sully" brings another solid performance for Tom Hanks and another successful film for Clint Eastwood. The film has a perfect runtime and properly fleshes out the details of the real life events without any lag time. "Sully" is a crowd pleaser that most will enjoy.
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