Review of Clint Eastwood’s latest biographical drama about “the miracle on the Hudson”
By Carter Bagley
It seems that whenever someone desires to make an awards season drama with a charming leading man they always cast Tom Hanks. Whether the director is Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, or Ron Howard it doesn’t matter because you’re guaranteed a charismatic likable performance by Tom Hanks every time. I’m not going to say he’s as good as Daniel Day Lewis or Al Pacino or maybe even a guy like Sean Penn, but Tom Hanks is like a Honda, they may not be as luxurious as a Mercedes or as cool as a Ferrari but they’re reliable, efficient and they can appeal to all types. Even though he plays similar characters a lot of times, he always brings a feeling to the film that most can’t and that’s what he’s good at and what he’s made a career off of. This time around the filmmaker is Clint Eastwood and the charismatic likable character is Chesley Sullenberger, although you might know him as Captain Sully the pilot who successfully landed a commercial airplane on the Hudson River. When I first heard Clint Eastwood was making this film about a year ago I didn’t know what to think. In fact I felt this way up until about a week ago. The reason for this is Eastwood hasn’t impressed all that much with his last few movies. It started when he made the biographical drama on J. Edgar which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and there’s no reason that should’ve been any less than great based on the talent involved. It fell flat and didn’t grip me really at all when watching it. The next one was with “Jersey Boys” about the 50’s group “Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons”. I was very excited to see this one as music films always interest me; but yet again it was handled sloppily and I came out feeling very underwhelmed. Then in late 2o14 everyone was heralding his last film “American Sniper” as a complete return to form for him, although I still felt underwhelmed coming out of the theater. It even annoyed me when it was nominated for Best Picture and Bradley Cooper was nominated for Best Actor. It annoyed me because I thought many others deserved the nominations more. So when I heard he was helming “Sully” I was obviously frustrated because I figured he was going to waste a great story and a great actor (Tom Hanks) like he did three times before. I’m happy to say though that with “Sully”, that’s not the case at all. Actually it’s the exact opposite of that, because Clint Eastwood’s directing is simply what made this film good. Instead of telling it like most would it’s told out of sequence, with a slow build and excellent pacing it was all on Eastwood’s shoulders to direct it the right way to make sure the scenes build on each other properly. Tom Hanks is good as always and embodies the character of Chesley Sullenberger almost perfectly. You’re often told he’s a hero throughout the film and you’re not entirely sure just what to think until the very end. You don’t know whether he did the only thing he could’ve done in that instant or was in a moment of poor judgement. This all builds up to the conclusion that’s very satisfying without being too preachy or too dramatic, it just felt real and that’s pretty much as good of a compliment I can give this film. Aaron Eckhart also does a fantastic job as he always does playing Sully’s co-pilot Jeff Skiles. Aaron Eckhart has always been a very underrated actor as he’s always very funny and charming in most of the roles he’s in, especially in “Thank You For Smoking” and “The Dark Knight”. There are some flaws in the film though, Laura Linney plays Sully’s wife and she doesn’t really do that much for the story. There are also some scenes that seem a bit repetitive as we see Sully experience visions countless times and I feel as if a few of those scenes could’ve been cut out to keep the story airtight. Altogether “Sully” is an entertaining, human story about courage and how a few moments can define us forever. Even though it may not be one of my favorite films I’ve seen this year, it’s definitely a good one.