Sully - Review
Sully, the latest directorial effort of Clint Eastwood, is an amazing film, in every possible way. It blurs the line between scripted drama and documentary, and shatters true story film tropes at every chance it gets. Oh, and it also tells one of the most remarkable stories in recent memory.
Sully begins in a way that I won't spoil, I'll only say that you will be hooked from the very start and not released until the credits roll. Sully strikes a perfect balance between the story of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, and the deed he and his crew performed. The central story arc revolves around the idea that maybe Sully could have landed on a runway, rather than the freezing Hudson River. While it is ultimately Sully's mission to prove his methods were justified, the film takes plenty of welcome detours. Several phone calls to Sully's family reveal the state of his marriage and home life, which seems to be much more solid than the media would have it portrayed. One standout scene shows Sully jogging around Times Square, and then over to a Navy aircraft carrier. Sully notices a fighter jet on the boat, and flashes back to his time in a plane of similar design, when he had to make a dangerous landing. Scenes like this are plenty, but director Clint Eastwood always leaves them alone. A lesser film would have reused these formative flashbacks at every possible opportunity, to shove in the audience's face that Sully has had to do this before. By leaving these small scenes contained, Sully's flashbacks do nothing but humanize him, rather than drive the emotional power of the film.
Tom Hanks continues to thrive in his late career and brings his immense star power to Sully in several new and creative ways. Hanks ditches his "James Bond wit" and charm from last year's Bridge of Spies, and instead plays a splendidly calm and collected person thrown into a perfectly chaotic situation. Hanks never raises his voice, or even snaps. He retains his sanity throughout the film, and ultimately gets what he wanted from the beginning: for all the attention to be over. This is not an interesting character arc on paper, but Hanks pulls it off in a way I believe no other actor could have. The other main highlight is Aaron Eckhart, who has had trouble finding another hugely memorable role since his portrayal of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. He is excellent in Sully, playing an always supportive co-captain and great friend. Although he doesn't get near as much attention as Sully, he feels just as fleshed out, never being pushed aside or walking in the shadow of Sully.
Director Clint Eastwood goes for substance over style in Sully, not using many flashy effects or color pallets, in favor of letting his talented cast do the hard work. There is one scene in which an event that never happened takes place in a dream, and the CGI is smooth and unnoticeable.
Sully is a testament to many things. The incredible acting ability of Tom Hanks, how far Clint Eastwood has come as a director, but most importantly, the miracle on the Hudson.
Pros- Tom Hanks, Minimalistic Style, Original Storytelling