"Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time." Sully (Tom Hanks)On January 15, 2009, a decidedly un-cinematic hero, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger of US Airways, landed 155 souls into the Hudson River, safely, as he struggled with a plane crippled by birds in both engines. As we all know, the passengers and crew survived, so what does director Clint Eastwood bring to the big screen that could engage an audience knowing the blessed outcome? First, he brings Tom Hanks, not unknown to portray low-key heroes (see Bridge of Spies and Captain Phillips most recently), whose understated courage seems accurately to reflect the Sully we have come to know and see displayed with the credits. Second, Eastwood crafts one of the most believable crash and rescue scenes I have ever encountered.As in the authentic Hanks interpretation of the quiet Sully, the disaster is compelling and understated. No swelling or morbid music takes away from the terror. Because the simulations at the National Transportation Safety Board hearings were necessary to prove fault, the contrast between the NTSB creations and Eastwood's rendition of the real incident is starkly evocative of the film's attempt to get it all right.Even the NTSB's grilling Sully at the hearings, while it unsettlingly tracks his alleged errors in the "Miracle on the Hudson," has a low-profile approach. It confirms Eastwood's and writer Todd Komarnicki's affirmation that everyone in the film is doing his and her job, from pilots, investigators, and rescuers to director and writer.Even Sully's wife, Lorraine (Laura Linney), in the ever-annoying wife-in-waiting-role, is stronger and more balanced than the stock character. Although the passengers are not always first-rate actors, they do seem sincere. However, it is Hanks's film with his stolid, no frills acting, followed by a supportive Aaron Eckhart as his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles.But then, that powerful under-acting is emblematic of the director himself, a lean craftsman who wastes no time in production and has no time for puffery. Although not Unforgiven, Sully is one of Eastwood's best and one of the best films of the year.After seeing this film, you may have a heightened respect even for flight attendants, who evidence a more sincere bravery than summer blockbuster heroes could ever do as that crew directs the passengers: "Brace. Brace. Brace. Head down, stay down!" If you see Sully in IMAX, your head will be up in the clouds and your heart too.
On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain Chesley Sullenberger, nicknamed "Sully", 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.
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December 4, 2016 at 1:42 am