This movie was a dark, non-linear review of one event juxtaposing perceived bad & good (NTSB investigation was rather unprofessional and antagonistic - you don't get to truth by concluding human error before knowing all the facts) and the few moments of private acclaim (I imagine all the passengers were thanking anyone in an airline uniform as soon as they were safe aboard another vessel feeling rescued) along with the acclaim we all saw during the coverage after the event. I liked the bar scene where the grey goose and a splash of water cocktail was highlighted. I, along with many other people, would still like to buy the flight crew a celebratory drink.
From the pilots I know and trust, the cockpit conversations were too soon. You don't take off and climb without engine noise, with calm skies and waxing philosophic on how this is so beautiful, you have flaps, landing gear, monitoring the trim and headings, listening to tower chatter and responding to the somewhat dry heading changes as you leave the very controlled airport pathways. If this were not a human interest story of great significance for me, I'd have given one star for Clint Eastwood's vision, as dark and uninspiring as his empty chair speech.
The little human interest highlights - the fresh sandwich from the airport concession in a familiar and friendly manner - the ferry pilot tending to business and getting updates on passengers and radio-traffic on the river - the police helicopter crew bs'ing as they check their equipment and settle into another boring day - the sight-seeing helicopter watching events unfold and responding to air traffic control - and the air traffic control scenes. All give a realistic feeling and view of events unfolding.
Yes, in circumstances when you are on watch and invest in an outcome (the air traffic controller) you do need to sit down, to be ready to debrief in an official meeting with transcripts and event logs - very true to life. I don't know if there are spare ATC to step in and take over in the tower, but I hope cost cutting doesn't remove that level of redundancy.
The dis-jointed non-linear style works, although darkly. You see how a dedicated professional can focus on the job at hand, and sometimes their ego takes over. There are heroic pilots who have stayed at the controls flying the plane as best they could until the moment of impact, very few live to tell their story. Sully is one of the talented but lucky 200 or so who have walked away after the unthinkable.
Why the investigation was portrayed so antagonistically, why the dark theme was so pervasive, why the joy and relief among family and friends was not equally juxtaposed against the fear and dread? I don't know. The father and sons who were separated, the singular concern of the father - nice touch but that was the only one where resolution seemed happy. A few more phone calls (yes, we had semi-smart phones then) to answer machines saying "we may die" followed by the rescued people phoning "I am safe" would have carried a poignant but happier overtone than how dark the movie seems.
I wanted to see more of my uncle and cousins in the movie - I saw glimpses of those accomplished pilots in both the event scenes and in the prequel scenes of first flying and marine maneuver flying. The care to make sure no one was stuck in a seat, the questioning of the number rescued, and the repeat nightmares along with the elevated heart rate give a glimpse of the PTSD that all onboard must have dealt with afterward.
PTSD is a dark and terrifying loss of self - the world you know is no longer knowable, it is foreboding when you hear or feel triggers, when you go to sleep, when you find your body recoiling from stress. That was the only darkness worth seeing in the movie, and the overwhelming darkness was only lightened by the last scene of Sully "I am your captain", his wife, & the passengers. That very short, very redemptive moment raised my one star to 3 and a half.
Tom Hanks stars in this thrilling portrait of heroic airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, re-enacting his incredible successful emergency landing of an Airbus A320 full of passengers on the Hudson River.
This movie has been out for a few years now, but I hadn't had the opportunity to watch it until recently. Tom Hanks is one of those guys where you know his films will probably be pretty good, at the least, and while I didn't love this film, it was certainly well made.
One thing that really stood out to me was Tom Hanks performance. I think that he really brought out the psychological stakes that were present here and he gave us a character to care about. He alone brought so much to this film, but he was accompanied by some other great performances - like Aaron Eckhart.
The story is told in a semi non-linear fashion, which I wasn't completely on board with. I think the story, overall, was well written, but it wasn't my favorite. It felt like we were jumping all around the place and the jumps felt kind of out of place. It felt like there wasn't a steady pace and that was my main issue with this film.
Despite that being said, "Sully" is still a great film. It has its issues and it's not perfect, but it's well made.
- Finesse Movie Reviews
This is one of the best movies I have seen this year.