Sully: Miracle On The Hudson

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney
In UK Cinemas December 2nd, 2016

by Joanna Orland

Sully: Miracle On The Hudson is a non-linear retelling of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s story, anchored solidly by Tom Hanks’ excellent lead performance. On January 15, 2009, Sully successfully landed a plane onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 people on board. While the day’s events are well known, what came after may come as a surprise to some. Hailed as a hero for saving the lives of his passengers and crew, Sully was accused of misconduct by the National Transportation Safety Board who believed he could have and should have returned the plane to an airport. Intertwining the events of the landing, Sully’s post-traumatic stress, and the inquisitions he faced from the board, this film is riveting to watch.

Even though the audience knows everyone will survive, the plane scenes are extremely tense and gripping. Clint Eastwood’s directorial efforts are finely honed as he recreates what is a horrifying ordeal with complete authenticity and harrowing drama. Eastwood touches upon the examination of a hero and society’s underlying cynicism of celebrating a man for doing something heroic, but the film never gets gritty in its commentary, always staying firmly in safe dramatic territory.

Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as Sully. The audience easily believes the actor as a hero, but as he’s also often viewed as “America’s Dad”, seeing the humanity and frailty within him comes just as naturally. He is a remarkable actor, giving one of his stronger performances as a man conflicted by both the “hero” label and the scrutiny he’s under for possibly having done the wrong thing. Hanks shows the human behind the hero in a way no other actor could.

The film is masterfully pieced together throughout, until its final moments. Ending abruptly on a tonally dissonant moment, the film misses the chance to impart its powerful dramatic weight onto the viewer. But, throughout its 95 minute running time, it is nearly impossible to find any other fault.



Leave a Reply