Wednesday, 21 December 2016

'Sully: Miracle On The Hudson' Review

Based on a true story comes 'Sully: Miracle On The Hudson' directed by Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood. After coming close to another Oscar with 'American Sniper', would 'Sully' give Eastwood another chance at glory?

In 2009, US Airways Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) was forced to crash land in the Hudson River. Despite saving all 155 passengers and crew members, an investigation is set to find out what really happened and may ruin Sully's credibility and his career.

Based on the true events of the US Airways Flight 1549, 'Sully' takes a very interesting look at a disaster. The non-linear and unique structure that director Clint Eastwood uses is perhaps the strongest part of the film. The film sets up the aftermath of the flight as Sully is being praised as a hero whilst attempting to deal with being in the spotlight. This gives us time to see Sully for who he truly is and instantly is likeable due to being down to earth. This is where the investigation starts to begin, which leads the audience to doubt what may have happened. The film is very clever with how it handles the situation as it doesn't rush to give you every detail about the crash landing. This leaves a lot of things up in the air as you are unsure whether or not the best thing was done. But by this point, you have already grown to like Hanks' character and as you know, he landed the plane successfully with no injuries. This then draws emotion as you see a likeable character being pestered for doing the right thing making you root for him even more. This is backed up when you see the events which lead to a very good final act. There are twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat as you eagerly anticipate the verdict of the investigation. The structure of this film really helps add to the drama and Eastwood really succeeds with this technique.

'Sully' also relies on the audience rooting for Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart). To help with this, the film only has the help of Tom Hanks. Albeit Hanks is an A-list star, he is considered as one of Hollywood's nicest people and that transcends onto the big screen. His performance really shows Sully as a normal guy who just wants to do his job and provide for his family. Hanks does incredibly well in this role, making up for the atrocity that was Ron Howard's 'Inferno'. The same thing can be said for Eckhart in this film who does a great job as Hanks' second-hand man. The two were cast perfectly in these roles, bringing heart and bits of humour when necessary. The two really help this film stand as we see how this event affects both men which made it very human.

The runtime of the film is 1 hour and 36 minutes which for this story is enough. However, there is an aspect involving Sully and his wife that felt forced into the film to make it longer than an hour and a half. The family perspective most definitely should be included in a story like this as it is directly affecting them and their lives. However, the film didn't focus on them growing more as a family or bonding over a near tragedy. It sets up a half-hearted attempt at creating tension between Sully and his wife as if there were problems at home. However, the film does not fully commit to this and there is no payoff. Due to this, it just feels included for the film to be longer and it wasn't necessary to the story at all. This aspect albeit a short part of the film is by far the weakest point of this movie.

Eastwood uses special effects within this film to great use too. The scenes where the plane is seen making a crash landing look incredibly realistic. Seeing this plane glide through New York is the stuff of nightmares. The effects are astonishing and terrifying at the same time due to the realism. Again, the film doesn't overdo it as it then goes back to use real boats and practical effects within the rescue scenes. This allows the film to show more humanity as we see the effort from the coastguards and other helpers. This really helps the story becoming quite heartwarming as you see the better side of humanity as everyone is doing what they can to help one another.

Overall, this a very solid biographical disaster film. It doesn't ever seem exaggerated and the human feeling is kept. The structure of this film really helps as the crash-landing and safety rescue didn't last long enough for it to be the full movie. Eastwood does a great job crafting a story around this event and Hanks shines like always. A very interesting watch and one that you should check out.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Sully'? If so, what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor