A solid effort from Hanks and Eastwood create a compelling tale of a harrowing day in New York.
This story follows the real-life events of January 15th 2009 when Captain Chelsey Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the Hudson River after dual engine failure with 155 people on board. More specifically this film dives into the investigation that took place after this event, behind the cameras, as Captain Sullenberger was forced to defend his actions as necessary to save those life’s, not to endanger them, like some believed.
Now this story alone was compelling enough for a great biopic, but you add Clint Eastwood in the director’s chair and Tom Hanks in the lead and my anticipation for this movie immediately skyrocketed. After; I can easily say this one completely delivered. The acting was excellent. Tom Hanks was rock-solid in his portrayal of Captain Sullenberger, he felt the part and conveyed the needed emotion effectively.
As this story dives into the events after the emergency landing, and Sully has to deal with sudden media exposure, seemingly intense questioning from investigators, and his own moments of self-doubt, Hanks delivers these scenes with precision. Also Aaron Eckhart was a fantastic co-star. He created a great chemistry with Hanks, their scenes in the cockpit felt incredibly realistic and his comic-relief was perfectly timed, written, and delivered.
To complement some excellent cast performances was a very structured script that didn’t stray off into many subplots or character additions. The point of the story was always in focus and while it may have felt slightly choppy at times, there was still enough substance to create a connection with Sully, and the ordeal he faced after the river landing. The run-time was shorter than most biopics but it never felt rushed. I would have liked a little more time spent on the actual investigation, but there was still more than enough meat there to build the ramifications of everything.
I really thought the special-effects did their part in this movie. The emergency landing scenes were intriguing, very tense and above all realistic, to do a great job of capturing the events of the harrowing day. There was a nice blend of CGI and practical effects to do an effective job of putting the audience in to the situations with the characters.
Clint Eastwood’s direction wasn’t overly flashy but it was solid for what this story needed. He has been known to overfill his film with in-your-face patriotism at times but he did a great job with this movie overall in my opinion. He was able to recreate this day, from many angles and perspectives, and with some wide aerial shots it resulted in some subtle but very compelling visuals.
The only thing that disappointed me mildly about this movie was the fragmented flow of things. Other than the recreation of the river landing the story of the investigation felt like a series of random events with no real flow between them. It never built the tension of the situation to its fullest, thus the final-act had an abrupt feel to it. But I still enjoyed this film, it’s another great effort from Tom Hanks and a solid biopic covering a man that saved 155 lives on a frigid day in New York and I definitely recommend checking this film out. It was highly entertaining, and did a great job of paying homage to a hero that in his own words, “was just doing his job.”
Time: 96 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For some peril and brief strong language)