“Sully” is the latest biopic that stars Tom Hanks and tells the true story of Chesley Sullenberger, who was considered a hero after gliding his plane along the Hudson River and miraculously saving 155 lives. The film focuses on the aftermath of the incident, when Sullenberger was questioned by the media whether he could have made it back to the airport rather than endangering lives by gliding on the river. Sullenberger faced the question of whether or not he was a hero. The audience sees him dealing with the media, news press and with his family life.
We are approaching the Oscar movie season, and with a film that stars Hanks, with Eastwood being the director, anyone could assume that “Sully” would be a great candidate for Oscar buzz. While “Sully” is not Oscar-worthy, it is definitely a solid film. The performances from everyone were great —Hanks once again proved why he is one of the greatest actors working today.
Aaron Eckhart, who plays the co-pilot, is a really likeable presence in the film. Anna Gunn, who is finally able to be in Hollywood films after her success with “Breaking Bad,” was also terrific in her role. While the performances all around were superb, the standout is Hanks.
Additionally, the direction from Eastwood was excellent. There are particular scenes, such as the plane landing in the Hudson River, which were directed well. Without spoiling anything, the third act had me very into the film.
Eastwood did a terrific job of not portraying Sullenberger as an American hero who has done everything he should have. Eastwood shows both sides of the story and shows the facts. The unbiased storyline, which actually showed what happened, made the story much more compelling.
The biggest flaw of the film that prevents “Sully” from being a great film, is the use of flashbacks. There are flashbacks that take about 15 minutes, and it doesn’t always flow naturally. If the film had been told in chronological order, then the narrative would not have been a big issue.
Another flaw I had with the film was that, while the performances were great, none of the other characters are nearly as interesting as Sullenberger. Laura Linney, who plays Sullenberger’s wife, is fine in the film, but she doesn’t have much to do other than walk around the house and talk on the phone. Perhaps in real life, she did not have a story arc in the incident, so it’s not necessarily a flaw with the film.
While the film was well made, especially with the acting and direction, I thought at best it was solid. Had the narrative been stronger, the film would have easily been more compelling. The positives outweigh the negatives, and anyone who does not know about this true story should see this film because it is informative.