The Miracle on the Hudson remains a “where were you” moment in the minds of many. Sully, the 35th film directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by the always-talented Frank Marshall and Co., provides a powerful, poignant, yet simple look into the events after Flight 1549 landed in the water.
Sully is less a story about the passengers and the event as it is a story about it’s titular character. Sully himself, as is quickly established, is haunted by PTSD-like flashbacks of what could have happened days after the landing occurred. Each of these nightmare scenarios is woven into the film with grace and ease, never feeling out of place or forced. Eastwood brings his directing experience along, crafting the film to look as if you’re really in New York when the events took place. The visual effects are near-perfect, with the plane itself being their major star. Most of the time I couldn’t tell I was looking at a computer-generated plane and with so many spectacular visual effects over the years, that’s saying something. A simple piano-driven score serves as the exclamation point.
The cast portrays their respective characters with intense believability, especially Aaron Eckhart as First Officer Jeff Skiles. Skiles serves as both Sully’s loyal companion throughout the film and as comic relief. Tom Hanks is downright fantastic as Sully. He gives off multiple emotions through only his face and eyes and Hanks’ overall performance shows the beloved Captain as a simple everyday pilot. He doesn’t want all the media attention and just thinks he did his job which ended up becoming one of the most remembered moments in recent aviation history.
One way or another it all works, culminating in a short film at only 96 minutes. There isn’t a passenger by passenger origin story of how all 150 people got on the plane (by comparison, the movie shows only two instances), and the action scenes are minimal, only used when they’re needed. Problems are present but minimal: some scenes feel a little rushed, Todd Komanarki’s script is missing a few lines and the NTSB comes across as almost villainous but I blame that on how the actors’ delivered their dialogue. Perhaps this film’s best moment of appreciation towards the passengers and crew is in the end credits.
Although the plane may have not made it to its intended destination, Sully proves the legacy and respect of both the landing and the man responsible for it will keep on flying in our minds forever.
FINAL RATING: 4.7/5