As Clint Eastwood often does pretty well, he paints American heroes as exactly that, heroes, but what happens behind closed doors for those that save lives? These are the questions explored for the 90 minute run-time for Eastwood’s latest film that is Sully. Tom Hanks stars as Captain Sully and has the underrated Aaron Eckhart as his co-pilot. What Eastwood can always bring is a visual pleasure that reflects a sheen of patriotism and respect for American people who have done what they can to make this country beautiful and rather than this being a cradle to the grave film (Sully is still alive), we get a stirring and quiet tribute to the man that made it a “Miracle on the Hudson”.
Our lead is a calm as the real life man he portrays and it shows as the confident pilot makes quick decisions to save the lives of everyone on board. Tom Hanks stays cool, calm, and collected that is about as cool as that snow white mustache and hair he rocks throughout the film to full affect. At this point, there is no bigger American sweetheart than Tom Hanks, sorry everyone else, but this is Hanks’ show and he’s rocking it. You want to and eventually follow him with every step in the process that is defending his reasoning to land the plane in the Hudson River in New York and it makes you realize what a bunch of assholes these insurance guys can be.
While the performances all across the board are excellent, you almost wish Sully himself had more flaws, but how can you find flaws in a Tom Hanks character so easily. Everything he did and said was with calm conviction and silky smooth confidence without ever crossing the boarder of cocky. It’s something that provides an interesting theme in regards to the nature of what he did and whether or not it was the right or “logical decision” for him to make and he has to merely state his case to prove that there was no other logical way a veteran pilot of his caliber should have done something other than what he did, even if the result was saving every person on board.
The idea of a hero possibly losing their valor because of what could have happened is an interesting idea that always seems to keep my focus and this was no different. The desaturated color scheme of Clint Eastwood movies falls well with the type of films he makes. They are often casting light on the possible flaws of what appear to be good people and he takes you on humanistic journey’s of people like you or I for most of the film without fully hitting the hero worship button, but let’s be clear, when you save a plane full of people and don’t wear a red cape you’re most definitely a hero. I think this was a good film that was refreshingly short and purposefully minimalist which is a switch for Eastwood’s style of films which can drag about as long as his syllables when he has a cigar in his mouth.
The only real flaw I have with the movie is it’s choice of when to add vital scenes to the narrative. You will eventually get the scene with the actual event of the plane landing in the Hudson, but not only is an ever longer scene than you’d expect, but it also makes a weird decision to tell more about Sully himself which I don’t feel was really needed for a character that we already concluded was a magnificent pilot who is incredibly brave and in love with the sky and aviation. Sometimes you need to not be afraid to sticking with the minimalist storytelling devices and I think the plane scene was wonderfully done, but they fell away from the constant flow of the story for a moment, but it’s still a pretty impressive film all around I must say.